For years, India has blamed Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief, Hafiz Saeed, for being the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks while demanding action against him from the Pakistani government.
India has always been peeved by Saeed’s ability to hold public rallies with impunity despite the the UN ban on the LeT/JuD chief in the wake 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
However, for the first time, now even Pakistan has confessed that Saeed could a serious threat to his own country thereby prompting the Nawaz Sharif government to place him under house arrest.
The acknowledgement of the danger the Mumbai attacks mastermind poses came from no less a person that Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, Asif said, “Saeed can pose a serious threat to the society.”
Saeed was “arrested in the larger interest of the country”, he added, according to the report by Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper.
Saeed was placed under house arrest under the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) on January 30 in Lahore, provoking an uproar from his party and allies. Saeed’s inclusion in the list shows he is linked with militancy in some way. Saeed was earlier this month put on the Exit Control List, barring him from leaving the country.
During a panel discussion on countering extremism and terrorism, Asif said: “Terrorism is not synonymous to any religion. Terrorists aren’t Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. They are terrorists, they are criminals.”
The action against Saeed was taken after Pakistan was hit by at least eight terror attacks this month in which more than 100 people died, the latest being a suicide bombing on a famed Sufi shrine in Sindh province that claimed 88 lives.
Saeed was also put under house arrest after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 in which 166 people died, but he was freed by a court in 2009. He carries a reward of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.
In a statement critical of the American policies, Asif said Pakistan is determined to fight terrorism: “Let me assure the world community that Pakistan is a frontline state in this war and it will continue to fulfil its obligations to its own people and the international community but if the West’s policies are going to be isolationist it won’t help the fight against terrorism, only fuel it.”
(With PTI inputs)