Days after igniting controversy at home and abroad for spearheading Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rallies, the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) said on Saturday that the alliance’s supporters can vote for any like-minded people in the next general elections.
“The question of contesting the elections or supporting a certain party is too premature to answer. Millions of our voters are free to vote for whomsoever they choose from the (DPC) in the next general elections,” JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said in reply to a query from The Express Tribune.
The US State Department issued a press release on the JuD’s sudden resurgence from the platform of the (DPC) by saying “Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaatud Dawa are internationally sanctioned because of their association with al Qaeda. We have, and continue to, urge the government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with the UN Security CouncilResolution 1267/1989.”
Mujahid, however, said “as far as Jamaatud Dawa or its chief amir Hafiz Saeed’s presence in the rallies of (DPC) is concerned, there is no law in Pakistan which can stop their participation. The courts in Pakistan have given a clean bill to JuD after the Security Council imposed sanctions on it. Now the US must respect Pakistani law.”
The rise of (DPC) on the country’s political horizon has surprised many political observers who feel the council might mime MMA’s way of fostering public support and then converting it to electoral victory.
The presence of Hafiz Saeed and Malik Ishaq in (DPC) rallies has sparked a reaction from the civil society. They feel that sanctioned and banned entities should not make political moves on the national stage.
“The (DPC) has a two-point agenda. Ending drone strikes and the water dispute with India. That is why JuD is going to the public to muster support. We are holding a big rally in Rawalpindi in the next few days and after that we are going to Quetta,” said Mujahid.
The spokesman also claimed that India and the US could never submit any concrete evidence of JuD being involved in terrorist activities. Unless solid proof is provided, he said, Hafiz Saeed and other JuD leaders will continue to hold rallies.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.
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