Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed.
The Pakistani government wants the world to believe it is sincere in its fight against Islamist terror groups, but at the same time refuses to deal with the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Even though both groups are banned, its leader, Hafiz Saeed, who has been implicated by the Indian government in the November 2008 terror assault in Mumbai, is again openly calling for jihad. If India would just relinquish Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict would end, Saeed claims. From Rediff News:
Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who is accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks, on Friday said the only solution to resolving problems between India and Pakistan is the ‘liberation of Jammu and Kashmir’, failing which radical groups will resort to the ‘option of Jihad’.
Addressing a gathering of about 10,000 people at the Mall Road in Lahore to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Saeed said this is the message he would convey to Home Minister P Chidambaram, if he came to Lahore during his upcoming visit to Pakistan.
“We are not against composite dialogues. I ask Chidambaram to first come to Lahore before going to Islamabad and hold talks with me. I will tell him a solid solution to the problems between India and Pakistan,” said Saeed.
“There is only one solution to all the problems — liberate Indian-held Kashmir. Otherwise the option of Jihad (holy war) is open for us,” Saeed said.
But Saeed then makes it clear that Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa aren’t only concerned with Jammu and Kashmir. His groups have designs on Indian Hyderabad as well.
He also warned India that the liberation of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad was also on the JuD’s agenda. Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, warned the Pakistan government not to fool the people in the name of the composite dialogue with India.
“Our rulers get happy whenever India expresses its wish for talks with Pakistan. I want to tell them that India will never talk about liberating Srinagar and Jammu and Pakistan must understand this,” he said.
The JuD chief said his group “had already tested the Indian Army”.
And while Saeed didn’t say it at the jihadist rally, he supports the establishment of a global caliphate, just as al Qaeda does. Lashkar-e-Taiba has “consistently advocated the use of force and vowed that it would plant the ‘flag of Islam’ in Washington, Tel Aviv and New Delhi,” the Southeast Asia Terrorism Portal reported.
But despite all of this, the Pakistani government can’t seem to find cause to arrest him. A wise intelligence official told me some time ago that until Pakistan moves against the likes of Hafiz Saeed, the government can’t be taken seriously. Nor can it be completely trusted.