Extremist, banned groups fail miserably in Pakistan general elections

Islamabad: Extremist and banned groups, including Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, have failed miserably in Pakistan’s general elections despite their massive campaign. Hundreds of individuals linked with hardline and banned groups were competing in the polls but so far, according to the unofficial results, none of them was seen as winning a seat in the national or provincial assemblies.

Only few could garner a respectable number of votes including Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi whose name was removed from a banned list called Fourth Schedule ahead of election and allowed to contest, inviting international backlash. Geo TV reported that hat Ludhianvi received more than 45,000 votes but was nowhere close to the victory.

Before the elections, concerns have been raised in the country over the participation of hardline Islamist groups in large numbers. Mili Muslim League linked with Saeed fielded dozens of candidates from the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek as it was denied recognition by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Saeed himself led the campaign by addressing several rallies but his candidates were not seen anywhere near victory.

Hafiz Talha Saeed, the son of Saeed, contested from NA-91 seat from Sargodha (about 200-km from Lahore), the home town of the Jamaat-ud Dawa leader. Saeed’s son-in-law, Khalid Waleed, was a candidate in PP-167. Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a Sunni sectarian group, fielded more than 100 candidates but none of them came closer to victory, according to unofficial results so far.

Mutahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA) was the biggest religious alliance of several leading parties was leading on only eight seats of national assembly despite massive campaign by its leader which included influential Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

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