He’s on Wanted Posters in U.S., and Campaign Posters in Pakistan

A large restaurant on Lakshmi Chowk, a boulevard named after the Hindu goddess of fortune, has been converted into the party’s headquarters, where dozens of volunteers were unfolding banners and posters on a recent visit.

One group went over voter lists in preparation for a door-to-door awareness drive, while more than two dozen young men prepared for a motorcycle campaign through the narrow alleys and congested roads of Lahore’s Old City. In a social media office, volunteers edited campaign videos to be released online.

Naveed Qamar, the party’s campaign manager, said a women’s wing made up of relatives of senior Jamaat leaders was going door to door, and the party had set up around 150 small offices and stalls across the election district.

“People have emptied their homes and offered them to us as offices,” Mr. Qamar said. “One supporter paid for all the banners. Another gave us his printing press.”

He made no attempt to hide the party’s anti-India leaning or what he called its “ideological affinity” with Lashkar-e-Taiba, adding the party had the “full support and blessing” of Mr. Saeed.

“From the deepest recesses of his heart, no Pakistani wants friendship with India,” Mr. Qamar said. “In that way, we are with Lashkar-e-Taiba.”

The party, which says its goal is to unite Pakistan’s Muslims across all ethnicities and languages, is not yet formally registered with the election commission, because it submitted its documents only in August, so Mr. Sheikh is running run as an independent candidate in the special election being held on Sunday to fill the seat that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was forced to vacate over corruption charges in July.

“But that does not mean we are not a reality,” Mr. Qamar said. “We have launched our party, and our campaigning is going on in full swing.”

Photo

The flag of the Milli Muslim League, a new political party in Pakistan.

Credit
Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

The campaign is seen as largely symbolic, and the party is not expected to win the seat.

In January, the Pakistani government put Mr. Saeed under house arrest to keep him from collecting funds for his charity in violation of United Nations resolutions. Pakistan also included the charity on an interior ministry watch list, though it did not ban it.

Against the backdrop of Mr. Saeed’s arrest, many…

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