Extremist Groups are Campaigning in Pakistan Election

Pakistani extremist, leaders accused of spreading religious hatred and instigating sectarian violence, are among those running for seats 25 July in the Pakistani general elections.

Hafiz Saeed

This comes amidst rising concerns that their possible entry into Parliament could further radicalize the society.

Among them are candidates backed by Hafiz Saeed, who is alleged to have masterminded the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 that killed 166 people. These candidates promote that their aim is to make Pakistan a “citadel of Islam.”

Saeed and the more than 200 candidates he backs denounce the outgoing government as “traitors.” “The politics of the American servants is coming to an end,” said Saeed at a rally this month in the eastern city of Lahore.

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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