Pakistan upcoming election- TLP, MMA and AAT in race

Pakistan upcoming election- TLP, MMA and AAT in race- Latest News

Of the Islamist groups contesting, it’s the TLP’s rise that’s most noteworthy. Pakistan’s Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the Islamist group that brought Islamabad to a standstill last November to oppose changes in strict blasphemy laws, has fielded more than 150 candidates for the forthcoming general elections.

The TLP – whose raison d étre is the protection of the blasphemy law – was formed as recently as in 2015 and yet it has fielded a whopping 152 candidatesin comparision to parties that have been in Pakistani politics for decades. They have fielded just between 40-75 candidates more than the TLP.

Then there’s the religio-political parties’ alliance – Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA)- which comprises the ultra-conservative, Islamist, religious, and far-right parties of Pakistan that was formed way back in 2002. This party headed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has put up candidates in 173 constituencies.

The third one in the row is called the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT). This is the platform for none other than terrorist Hafiz Saeed’s Milli Muslim League, which has been denied registration by Pakistan’s election commission, due to its links with the banned Saeed-held Jamaat-ud-Dawa. AAT has fielded 43 candidates in Punjab and seven in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for a total of 50.

The TLP and MMA (and to some extent AAT) have fielded more candidates – relatively speaking – than many parties who’ve been active in politics in the country for decades and decades.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has fielded 225 candidates in 248 constituencies across the country. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-N have fielded 218 and 193 candidates, respectively, all over the country.
TLP was formed as late as in 2015 and last November more than 2,000 of its members and supporters staged a three-week-long sit-in at the intersection of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad last year.

They were supported by another hardline group called the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek. And the heated protests were on the issue of what was called the ‘Khatm-i-Nubuwat declaration’.

That is, they were protesting a small change – which the government soon called a “clerical error” – to the oath taken by parliamentary candidates.

What was altered was that a candidate need just say they “believe” rather than “solemnly swear by”  in the swear “I solemnly swear by” because the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet.

The TLP not only demonstrated but also initiated clashes in which half a dozen people lost their lives and more than 300 people were injured. Leading this violent incident, law minister Zahid Hamid, whom the TLP declared a “blasphemer”, had to resign.

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