LAHORE - Sirajul Haq, Liaquat Baloch and Professor Ibrahim have appeared top runner for the slot of JI chief.

The five-year term of JI chief Sirajul Haq is expiring on March 31, the party spokesman said on Wednesday.

The JI’s 80-member (70 men, 10 women) central executive council (Majlise Shoora) elected the three names through a secret balloting. Now, these names will be sent to around 40,000 party members across the country and they would choose one among them. The members (Rukan) also have the right to vote for any other person.

The election commission headed by Asadullah Bhutto is supervising the election process. 

Siraj is current chief of JI, while Baloch is party secretary general and Prof Ibrahim served as JI KP chapter chief.  Some JI members predicted the continuation of Siraj as the JI chief for next five years but they were not complete sure about it.

The election commission has started sending ballot papers printed with three names to JI members . The members will submit the ballots at their district offices and from where they will be sent to JI head office Mansora Lahore. The secret balloting process will complete before  March 31. The election commissioner will announce the winner candidate on the same day but without mentioning the  number of votes he achieved. The new chief will take oath as the JI Amir in first week of April at Mansora Mosque.

Founded in 1941 by a known Pan-Islamist religious scholar Syed Adul Ala Maududi, the JI’s intra-party election has always received appreciation from international and local observers. The Jamaat is perhaps the only political and religious party in the country which conducts intra-party election on regular basis.

The 2019’s election would be the 10th poll after the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971. The JI spilt into JI Hind and JI Pakistan after 1947 and JI Bangladesh in 1971.

After Syed Maududi, his most trusted aid Mian Tufail Muhammad served as JI chief three times from 1972 to 1987. Qazi Hussain Ahmed was the third chief of the JI who had been elected four times from 1987 to 2008. He was succeeded by Syed Munawar Hassan who served as JI head from 2008 to 2013. Hassan was followed by the incumbent Sirajul Haq whose tenure will end on March 31.