Charity run by Pakistani Islamist launches political party

Author: ReutersTue, 2017-08-08 03:00ID: 1502139591621735400LAHORE: A Pakistani charity that the US accuses of being a front for anti-India militant group that staged the 2008 Mumbai attacks has entered politics by forming a new party, charity officials said on Monday.The new Milli Muslim League party will follow the ideology of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which the US says is a front for banned militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and is run by Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people.Washington has offered $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed, who Reuters could not contact for comment.“We have decided to make a new political party, so that Pakistan is to made a real Islamic and welfare state,” said Milli Muslim League President Saifullah Khalid.Tabish Qayoum, a JuD activist who will work as spokesman for Milli Muslim League, said the charity had filed registration papers for a new party with Pakistan’s electoral commission.“It is now need of the hour to get your message to the grassroots,” Qayoum told Reuters.JuD officials have always denied the charity is a front for LeT, and tout the group’s humanitarian work as an example of Islamic charity.Qayoum said Saeed, who missed the launch event as he remains under house arrest in Lahore, and other senior JuD figures are unlikely to be involved in the new party that will adhere to JuD’s ideology.“We demand an immediate release of Hafiz Saeed. Once he is released we will seek his guidance and ask what role he wants in this political party,” added party chief Khalid.
Main category: World

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