Hafiz Saeed resurfaces, castigates India, UNSC


LAHORE: While resurfacing on Thursday at a Lahore mosque after going into hiding last week in the wake of a military operation against Jamaatul Daawa, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba addressed a hard hitting press conference, saying he would approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United Nations Security Council’s decision to ban his organisation as a terrorist group.

Hafiz Saeed’s coming out of hiding and his harsh criticism of the UNSC as well as India could not have been possible without the consent of the government which has apparently decided to ease restriction on him in a bid to counter the flood of Indian allegations against Islamabad. The official circles in Islamabad say the Indian external affairs minister’s Thursday allegations against Pakistan on the floor of the house actually compelled Islamabad to set Saeed free so that he could defend himself as well his organisation in the face of the UNSC’s move against the Jamaatul Daawa. However, there are those who believe that the PPP government never intended to take any harsh step against Hafiz Saeed and his organisation from the day one which has now been proved following his press conference.

Saying the UNSC was playing into the hands of India, a furious Saeed said he has decided to write to the global body to clarify that the Jamaatul Daawa has no links with terrorism and the UNSC decision is actually motivated by false Indian propaganda despite the fact that New Delhi has failed to provide any evidence of the JuD’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks. He said the UNSC ban was actually an attack on Islam and Pakistan because the JuD’s only mission is to spread the message of Allah across Pakistan. To a question, the JuD ameer went to the extent of simply disowning the Lashkar-e-Toiba, saying that he had never been its ameer in the past. Thus is despite the fact that he had founded the LeT in 1991 with an avowed aim of waging jehad to liberate the ‘Occupied’ Jammau & Kashmir.

Asked about the possibility of the Pakistan government too banning the JuD after the UNSC move, he said Pakistani government should investigate the allegations and clear the situation instead of conceding to the pressures from New Deli and Washington. Hafiz Saeed regretted that India had been accusing the Lashkar of the Mumbai attacks which is a Srinagar based Kashmiri militant organisation, but, the UNSC has proceeded against the JuD which is a Pakistan-based welfare group which has nothing to do with the Lashkar. He demanded that the Indian authorities provide solid evidence of the involvement of either of the two groups in the Mumbai attacks, before accusing them for the tragedy. “It is a pity that regardless of the tremendous trust and confidence shown in the Jamaatul Daawa by international and local organizations in the aftermath of the Oct 2005 quake in the northern areas of Pakistan, the UNSC has chosen to portray it negatively at the behest of India”, he said.

Declaring that the JuD will challenge the sanctions imposed on it in all forums, Saeed said his group will write to the UN explaining that it has no involvement in any terrorist activity. When asked what he would do if India presented any evidence against JuD, Saeed said in that case his group will abide by the decision of the government of Pakistan. He said all JuD offices in Pakistani Kashmir and other parts of the country were working as usual and the recent raids in Kashmir were on the LeT. “Pakistan army and security agencies are conducting these raids and they are in a better position to tell you against whom they are taking these actions,’ he added.

Asked about media reports that one of the Mumbai attackers had visited the JuD headquarters in Muridke, Saeed said he had never met him. “I have seen a media report that I met him for the first time in Dubai whereas I have never been to Dubai”, he added. To another question, he disowned Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, saying that he was a Kashmiri militant while he was a Pakistani national.


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