Terrorist Hafiz Mohammed Saeed is set to take another step forward in the process of mainstreaming himself in Pakistani politics. His newly-launched political party, the Milli Muslim League (MML) is set to release its manifesto for the general elections which are to be held later this year.
The release of the manifesto comes after the Islamabad High Court cleared the decks for the Saeed's latest organisation to register itself as a political party. The Election Commission of Pakistan had earlier rejected MML's application.
The MML's manifesto may be expected to have the hallmarks of his extremist ideology, not just on Kashmir, but also on other internal hardline policies.
Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, is known to use the logic of shell companies to continue his terrorist financing and training activities without a break, continuing to change names for his organisation, after the previous one was banned or restrictions were placed on it.
To this end, his Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) continued functioning under the name of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) when it was banned. And when restrictions were placed on JuD, many of its activities were subsumed by Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF). The progress of the MML avatar comes after Pakistan, under global pressure, moved to seize all assets and accounts of JuD and FIF.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had blocked the MML's registration as a political party on the recommendation of the Interior Ministry. But with the clearance of the court, Saeed now moves closer to mainstreaming his extremism as part of Pakistan politics.
Commentators within Pakistan have repeatedly decried the attempts by the military-intelligence establishment to mainstream the extremist assets it has created and fostered over decades as part of an unconventional war strategy, first against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and then against India.