Pakistan Elections: 26/11 Mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Son and Son-in-law Loose in Debut Poll Appearance
Hafiz Saeed (Photo Credit : PTI/File)

Extremist and hardline right-wing Islamist groups, including Mumbai 26/11 attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, have failed to garner even a single seat in Pakistan's general elections despite their massive campaign.

Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist, is the head of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the political wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. His political party Milli Muslim League was denied registration in 2017. Its 265 candidates then ran in the Pakistan election through the lesser known the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, (AAT) party. But, the AAT’s candidates have been roundly rejected by Pakistan’s voters.

Despite campaigning extensively the JuD chief’s son Talha and son-in-law Khalid Waleed too lost in the elections. Talha lost from Sargodha by over 11,000 votes.

Other Islamist groups, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Pakistan, the Milli Awami League which had clobbered together to form a single party - Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal - lost in Punjab and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hundreds of individuals linked with hardline and banned groups were competing in the general elections in Pakistan but according to the unofficial results, not one of them was seen as winning a seat in the national or provincial assemblies. There were over 1,500 candidates belonging to various hardline outfits who took part in the elections being held for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies.

The Ahle Sunnat Wahl Jamaat (ASWJ) which was banned by the U.S. and Pakistan also floated a political party to fight the general elections. The ASWJ party was known as Rah-e Haq party which the United States accused of being linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State. Several, small extremist organisations namely Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) fielded candidates but all of them lost. TLP had declared the names of 100 candidates to fight the elections but failed to win over Pakistani voters even in a single assembly seat.

Pakistan's National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected whereas the rest - 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities - are selected later through proportional representation among parties with more than 5% of the vote.

A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total. A single party will need at least 137 of the directly elected seats to be able to form the government on its own.

Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party in the Pakistan National Assembly with its candidates winning 110 seats amid rival political parties’ claim of “blatant” rigging.