Editorials appearing in two separate major dailies in Pakistan have said the Jamaat-ud-Dawa's (JuD's) plans to venture into mainstream politics through its recently formed Milli Muslim League (MML) needs to be viewed with skepticism, given its past alleged links to terrorism, militancy and insurgency.
The Dawn, in its editorial, says the arrival of general elections "usually produces some strange bedfellows who come together out of political expediency."
Acknowledging that the MML has hit all expected talking points that need rectifying, including corruption of the political leadership, an end to the deliberate fanning of sectarian and ethnic tensions, the country's direction towards liberalism and secularism and the charity work being carried out by the JuD, the editorial, however, cautions that the "JuD comes with a considerable degree of baggage, a questionable pedigree of sorts."
It reminds the reader that while entry into the political mainstream is a welcome step, the irrefutable fact is that the JuD is on the "government watch list under Schedule II of the Anti Terrorism Act, and its own predecessor, the Lashkar-e-Taiba - now banned - is associated with jihadist adventurism across the border (read India), including operations such as the Mumbai attacks in 2008."
It reminds that the LeT has been and continues to be "an obdurate opponent of democracy, deeming it incompatible with Islam".
The Dawn says that, "the MML should be emphatic in its repudiation of militancy."
Endorsing a similar sentiment as expressed in the Dawn, The Nation, in its editorial, however, says that the JuD is attempting "a clear political reincarnation."
"This may be an attempt to provide a cover to the organisation amid pressure from the international community on Pakistan to crack down on the JuD for its alleged involvement in terrorist activities in India and its links to Al Qaeda," the editorial in The Nation, says.
Maintaining that it would be naïve to underestimate the support that the JuD has in Pakistan, the editorial questions whether the emergence of the MML will polarise an already fragmented Pakistani society?
It believes and predicts that the popular welfare activities of the JuD will convince the masses in Pakistan to "internalize" the party's extremist political ideology.