Present at ECP, proscribed lists, ITP shows its presence in Karachi by-polls

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Allama Sajid Naqvi
File Photo of Allama Sajjid Ali Naqvi, Chief of the Islami Threek Party (ITP) declared proscribed by the Interior Ministry in November 15, 2013

By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: With mainstream political parties nowhere in the race with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – which has also lost some grounds – the banned sectarian organizations are showings footprints, the Thursday by-elections and last local government polls show the new trend.

The MQM retained the Sindh Assembly seat, PS-117 – which became vacant when the disgruntled Dr Sagheer Ahmed resigned from it after announcing to join Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) .

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ITP

However, the turnout was historic low as only 14156 of the 163746 registered voters made it to the polling stations. The MQM’s Syed Muhammad Qamar Abbas Rizvi bagged 10738 votes; however, the runner was neither mainstream Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf nor the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.

Islami Tehreek Party (ITP) – a Shia group is registered with Election Commission of Pakistan at 75 number of the registered political parties’ list and also placed on the list of proscribed organizations of the interior ministry, which declared it outlawed on Moreover 15, 2013 – secured 1018 voters and its candidate, Ali Raza, surpassed both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Rafaqat Umar, who bagged 950 votes and Pakistan peoples Party’s Javed maqbool Butt, who could get only 924 votes.

According to a notification of the interior ministry issued on November 15, 2013 – a copy of which is available with The Frontier Post – the Islamic Tehreek Party was declared as banned outfit alongwith other 59 organizations.

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Islami Tehreek Party originally founded as Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan in 1979 under the name Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria to resist anti-Shia laws, according to reports.

Arif Hussain Hussaini – founder of the group who was a student of Ruhollah Khomeini who led the Iranian Revolution – changed the name of T.N.F.J to Tehrik-e-Jafaria (T.J.P). After his assassination in 1988 in Peshawar, Alama Sajid Ali Naqvi took the charge and is heading the group now. The group also remained part of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a conglomerate of the religious political parties, that won 53 out of 272 elected members in legislative elections held on October 20, 2002.  Several months before the general polls, on January 12, 2002, the T.J.P. was banned by the government of Pakistan. It was again banned on November 5, 2011.

In last local government elections the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) – another major Shia but not among the banned organizations and the Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP) contested polls as rival parties.

“But interestingly Majlis Wihdatul Muslimeen, which has failed to leave marks in the city, supported Islami Tehreek Party (ITP), which it was considering as rival”, Says Wakeel ur Rehman, a Karachi based analyst.

According to Rehman it’s not the Shia organizations which are reaching out to electorates on pure sectarian basis.  Alama Aurangzeb Farooqi, the Chief of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a Sunni Sectarian organization, had lost to MQM’s Syed Waqar Shah with few votes difference in general elections on Provincial Assembly seat, PS-128, on May 11, 2013. Farooqi had bagged 23,625 votes for a narrow loss to MQM’s Waqar Hussain Shah, who got 23,827.

In last local bodies elections, several of the left, centre and right, including Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Jamaat-e-Islamic had made alliance with Pakistan Rahe Haq Party, the political face of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which again is face of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which remained in government in Musharraf regime.

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In Muzaffarabad Colony, Maulana Mohuiddin of the PRHP was contesting for the chairman of the union council, and Haji Misal Khan, associated with PPP, was his running mate, contesting for vice chairman.

In the UC-2 constituency of the Malir district council, the PRHP had allied with the PML-N. In UC-1, their chairman’s candidate had a Jamaat-e-Islami candidate as his running mate. The two parties have also made alliances in North Karachi.

In the local elections Majlis Wihdatul Muslimeen was also contacted by several mainstream parties, including PPP and PTI, but didn’t support any political clique. Meantime, Pakistani Sunni Tehreek, an organization under watch by the federal interior ministry, also remains active at the electoral front.

Published in The Frontier Post 

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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