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September 30, 2017

Tehreek Labbaik gets ‘crane’ election symbol


September 30, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) of Hafiz Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who led a noisy sit-in in the federal capital, days after the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, got election symbol ‘crane’; already the party-backed candidate remained third in the recent bye-election in NA-120, Lahore.      

The party had applied for registration and allotment of symbol on September 19 and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a notification to this effect, and the party is most likely to contest all future electoral contests, having its strong bases in central and southern Punjab and pockets of supporters in some other districts, including Attock, Rawalpindi and Jhelum.

Azhar Hussain Rizvi, who was actively supported by the LTP, received 7,130 votes (about six per cent of polled votes while mainstream PML-N’s Begum Kulsoom Nawaz got 61,745 votes, followed by Dr Yasmin Rashid of PTI with 47,099 votes.

Another independent candidate Yaqoob Shiekh had pocketed 5,822 votes: He enjoyed full support of yet-to-be registered Milli Muslim League (MML); its case is with the Election Commission, which will take a decision on its registration in the light of the letter, it recently got from the Ministry of Interior in response to its communication. The ministry has opposed its registration.      

The TLP enjoys support of Brelvi school of thought. Hafiz Khadim Hussain Rizvi surfaced on the media following the execution of Qadri, who had gunned down Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in Islamabad. TLP’s Markazi Amir Rizvi’s sermons and emotionally-charged lectures are available on social media and print media also often gave coverage to his events.

Though there are 352 parties registered with the Election Commission so far, majority of them exist only on papers, but the TLP surely will not be among them, having significant support base, primarily in Punjab. 

“Yes indeed, we can explore ways and means to join hands with other liked-minded parties, already in political arena for decades,” said a senior TLP office-bearer, who did not wish to be identified here. He was asked would they be contesting polls in future on their own or look for alliances and working relationships. 

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