Pakistan’s minister of state for interior Shehryar Khan Afridi in a leaked video has been caught expressing support for Hafiz Saeed and his political front, the Milli Muslim League (MML), which was designated a terror group by the United States in April. Hafiz Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and the UN after the 2008 Mumbai attack . India has been long demanding Pakistan to try him in the Mumbai attack case. Hafiz Saeed carries a US dollar 10 million American bounty on his head for his role in terror activities.
In a two-minute video clip, Shehryar Afridi talking to Milli Muslim League (MML) leaders was drawn attention towards non-registration of Hafiz Saeed's party by the Election Commission (ECP). The minister said: "We will not let this happen."
"As long as we (the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) are in the government all those including Hafiz Saeed who are raising voice for Pakistan and righteousness, we are with them," Mr Afridi said, adding "this is our belief."
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"I request you to come to the National Assembly and see whether we are supporting those who on the right path or not," he told them.
In the leaked video, an MML leader said the high court ordered the ECP to register the MML as a political party but the top election body said that it had come to know that the US had declared MML a terrorist organisation.
On this, the minister assured that "this will not happen in the Imran Khan's government."
“Insha Allah, (let) any mother’s son (do what they want), as long as we are in the (National) Assembly and Tehreek-e-Insaf is there, leave alone Hafiz Saeed sa’ab, anyone who is supporting Pakistan’s rights... we will support them. This is our tradition,” he is heard as saying.
MML was launched by Saeed in August 2017 with a so-called mission to implement the ideology of Pakistan in accordance with the 1973 Constitution.
In April, the US placed the MML on its list of foreign terror organisations for its links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The interior ministry had written to the ECP recommending to not register the MML as it is an off-shoot of Saeed's Jamaat-ud Dawah, which has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
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The MML contested general elections on the platform of the "dormant" political entity Allaha-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which was registered with the ECP.
The Supreme Court in September last permitted the JuD and its arm Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) to continue their relief and charity work in the country.
Earlier, the government banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF, and other organisations on the UN Security Council sanctions list.
With about 50,000 volunteers, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, according to two counter-terrorism officials.
(With PTI inputs)