Banned outfit head announces support for former PM Shahid Khaqan in Islamabad against Imran Khan

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Banned outfit head announces support for former PM Shahid Khaqan in Islamabad against Imran Khan

*ISLAMABAD: *Islamabad chapter of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) has announced to support former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the general elections, scheduled for July 25.

Abbasi is contesting for a National Assembly seat for Islamabad against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.

The decision was made after the former premier visited the Islamabad office of the extremist sectarian group, formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba on July 10 and requested the party to support him in the elections.

The ASWJ leaders had told Abbasi that they would consider his request and consult their higher leadership on the matter. On Monday, ASWJ Islamabad announced its electoral support to Abbsi in NA-53 constituency.

“Yes, we have announced our support for Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. He had sought our support and visited us on July 10 and again today,” an ASWJ spokesperson told *The Express Tribune*. The spokesperson said the former prime minister had assured them of working for legislation on the issue of ‘Namoos-e-Sahaba’ (sanctity and honour of the companions of the Prophet PBUH).

The party, however, clarified that the support was only for Abbasi and limited to NA-53 constituency only. “It doesn’t mean we would support them on other seats in Islamabad or elsewhere too,” the spokesperson added.

Last month, the government had ordered to unfreeze assets of Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi and removed a ban on his ASWJ movement. A notification by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) was issued on June 276 on the recommendations of the Punjab home department in this regard.

Despite the ban being lifted, many of its leaders are contesting the elections either as independent candidates or under the banner of other parties.