Pakistan: The incomplete ‘final list’ of candidates announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suggests that religious parties are fielding high number of candidates in the coming general elections scheduled on July 25.
According to a Dawn report, religious groups are jumping into the electoral fray for general elections in Pakistan in a big way. Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a religio-political party headed by Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi has fielded more than 150 candidates for National Assembly seats across the country.
The report suggests that candidates fielded by TLP outnumbers even the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of the religio-political parties.
If three major political parties of Pakistan are kept aside – the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – TLP is the only party having fielded over 100 candidates in Punjab’s 117 constituencies.
Details of candidates from 23 constituencies in three Punjab districts have been ‘withheld’ by ECP due to “court cases”.
Another religious party Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which was formed after the ECP refused to register the Milli Muslim League, has fielded 43 candidates in Punjab. The party has fielded 14 women. The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Islami, another little known religious party has put up 18 candidates in Punjab.
The report further suggests that a large number of independent candidates, as many as 66, are contesting for the National Assembly seats in Pakistan on ‘Jeep’ symbol alone. The figure adds up to 119 across the country. This has triggered a speculation, especially in social media, suggesting that those contesting on the symbol are backed by the establishment.