Pak polls: Vote for party of your own choice, JuD tells supporters
Lahore: The Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, has asked its workers and sympathisers to vote for a party of their choice in Pakistan's May 11 general election.
"Though some religious and political parties had contacted our leadership for its support, especially in Punjab province, we have not made a commitment to anyone," a JuD leader from Punjab told PTI today.
The leader, who did not wish to be named, further said: "The JuD leadership has not bound its workers and sympathisers to vote for any particular party but they usually vote for religious parties or PML-N candidates in Punjab".
Asked about the role of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, an alliance of 40 hardline and extremist groups, in the polls, the JuD leader said the grouping was formed for the "protection of Pakistan" and it had decided not to contest elections.
The JuD enjoys widespread support in Lahore, Muridke, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Okara and Sahiwal cities and several districts of Punjab.
Meanwhile, both the PML-N and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf have decided not to forge an alliance with religious parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami, Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.
In the absence of seat adjustments or alliances with the PML-N or Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the religious parties stand virtually no chance of winning any parliamentary seat in Punjab, the country's most populous province of 90 million people.
Analysts believe the religious parties, without partners from mainstream political parties, stand no chance of having any sort of substantial role after the May 11 general election.
Neither the Jamaat-e-Islami nor Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam or other religious parties have candidates who can win any National Assembly or provincial constituency in Punjab, the analysts said.
Though the Jamaat-e-Islami has strong candidates in some constituencies, it cannot win in any seat on its own in the current scenario, they added.
The leaders of religious parties believe the results of the upcoming polls would be no different from or slightly better than those of the last polls in 2008 if they fail to unite on a single platform.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Paskistan-N secretary general Qari Zawar Bahadur said since the Jamiat Ulema-a-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami had divergent views on forging a broad-based alliance of religious forces, seat adjustments with mainstream political parties such as the PML-N are unlikely.
Bahadur said since the Jamaat-e-Islami couldn't reach an agreement on seat adjustments with the PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-s-Islam failed to woo the PML-N for accommodation in various constituencies, their candidates might face an embarrassing situation and perform even more badly than those being backed by other religious parties.