In a development that can further weaken the political situation in Pakistan and create new challenges for India, Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) said that it will be contesting the 2018 general elections in Pakistan. Experts said that terrorists taking part in elections would indicate a dramatic shift in the political situation in Pakistan and it could be the beginning of the complete radicalization of Pakistan. Recently, a JuD-backed candidate Sheikh Yaqoob had contested for a parliamentary seat that fell vacant after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Pakistan Supreme Court. Yaqoob was defeated by Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz, but this was just the beginning for JuD. It said that it will field its candidates in every constituency of Pakistan in the 2018 general elections.
It may be recalled that Yaqoob has already been placed in the list of terrorist leaders by the US Treasury. The fact that he has contested elections sets a bad precedent for the political system in Pakistan. Speaking about the election plans, Yaqoob said, “We are here to stay in the political field. People want a party that talks about making Pakistan strong against its enemies – India, United States and Israel and at the same time help them in solving their basic livelihood problems.” Indian security experts worry that if terrorists join politics in Pakistan, it could increase the risks for India since Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would no longer remain secure.