Hardline Islamists push religion to center of Pakistan election

Source: Reuters

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani cleric Hafiz Saeed is one of the United States’ most-wanted terrorist suspects, accused over the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. At home, his charities are banned, as is a new Islamist political party launched by his followers.

None of that has stopped Saeed from hitting the campaign trail for Pakistan’s July 25 general election, denouncing the outgoing government as “traitors” and whipping up support for the more than 200 candidates he backs.

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“The politics of the American servants is coming to an end!” Saeed thundered at a rally this month in the eastern city of Lahore, where supporters showered him with rose petals.

The main race in Wednesday’s vote is between the party of now-jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which is seeking a second consecutive term despite its leader’s downfall on corruption charges, and the party of former cricket star Imran Khan, perceived as the favorite of the powerful military.

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1 reply

  1. “The military wants to alter, engineer the national discourse,” Siddiqa said. “They want to build a new nationalism. They want a new identity, and that is Islamic identity.” This analysis of Siddiqa not correct. Military wanted clerics to merge into main stream party politics. If clerics do not want it and continue their separate extremeist entity, they will automatically disappear with passage of time. Pakistani soceity in general has never accepted religious extremism and will not do so in future also.

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