Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed.
The Pakistani police have placed Hafiz Saeed, the founder and leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, under house arrest for the second time in less than a year.
Police have posted themselves outside Saeed’s home in the Johar neighborhood of the eastern city of Lahore in Punjab province. The move came just days after police in Faisalbad registered charges against Saeed for preaching jihad and soliciting money for terrorist actions.
There is no official order to place Saeed under house arrest, according to Saeed’s spokesman.
“There are no written orders but he is not allowed to go out of his home,” Yahya Mujahid, Saeed’s spokesman, told Reuters. “He has been barred from performing his religious duty, it is against basic human rights.”
The placement of Saeed under house arrest follows the breakdown of negotiations between India and Pakistan after India accused Pakistan of failing to rein in known terrorists such as Saeed. Pakistan’s interior minister also announced that seven of the main Lashkar-e-Taiba suspects involved in the Mumbai terror assault would be prosecuted.
Saeed is wanted by the Indian government for his involvement in the deadly terror assault on Mumbai in late November 2008 that killed more than 170 people and locked down the city for more than 60 hours. India has repeatedly presented evidence to Pakistan to aid in his prosecution, but the Pakistani government has continued to claim that the evidence is insufficient to call for the arrest and prosecution of Saeed.
The Pakistani government also placed Saeed under house arrest 10 months ago. In mid-December 2008, Saeed was placed under a loose house arrest after the United Nations Security Council declared the Jamaat-ud-Dawa both a terrorist entity and a front group for the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Saeed was released from house arrest on June 2, 2009, after a three-judge panel of the Lahore High Court said the Punjab provincial government and the federal government had failed to provide sufficient evidence to keep him in custody. The release of Saeed was celebrated in Pakistani jihadi circles and angered the Indians.
On Aug. 3, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the country’s highest court, indefinitely suspended hearings on the government’s appeal of Saeed’s release.
Background on Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s extensive links with al Qaeda and Pakistan’s military intelligence service
Saeed and the Laskkar-e-Taiba have strong links with elements within Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Service Intelligence agency, or ISI.
Osama bin Laden and his mentor Abdullah Azzam encouraged Saeed to form Lashkar-e-Taiba in the late 1980s, and helped fund the establishment of the terror outfit. Lashkar-e-Taiba, like al Qaeda, practices the Wahabi strain of Islam, and receives funding from Saudis and other wealthy individuals throughout the Middle East.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is an ally of al Qaeda; the two groups provide support for each other, and their operatives train in each other’s camps. Lashkar-e-Taiba has established training camps in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas, and also maintains camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas.
Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network in Southern and Southeast Asia, where it seeks to establish a Muslim caliphate. The group essentially runs a state within a state in Pakistan; the group has established an organization that is as effective as Lebanese Hezbollah. Its sprawling Murdike complex, just northwest of Lahore in Punjab province, is a town of its own. Throughout Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Taiba runs numerous hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques, and other services. In support of its activities, Lashkar is active in fundraising across the Middle East and South Asia, and the group has recruited scores of Westerners to train in its camps.
In 2005, the group succeeded in providing aid to earthquake-ravaged regions in Kashmir while the Pakistani government was slow to act. Most recently, Lashkar-e-Taiba provided relief to tens of thousands of internally displaced persons who fled the fighting between the military and the Taliban in the Malakand Division.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa has long been known to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Saeed renamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba as “Jamaat-ud-Dawa” in 2002 after Lashkar was supposedly banned by the Pakistani government.
In reality, Saeed and his leaders rebranded the group as a Muslim charity to mask the operations of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Saeed has been arrested several times by Pakistani security forces after attacks in India, but each time has been quietly released. After Mumbai, Pakistan claimed to shut down Lashkar-e-Taiba / Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices and camps, and detained followers, but the efforts were largely cosmetic.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of the primary terror groups used by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency to direct military and terror operations inside India and Indian-held Kashmir. During the 1999 Kargil War, when Pakistan invaded Indian-held Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Taiba fought as the vanguard for Pakistani forces in the mountainous region. To this day, Lashkar-e-Taiba military and terror units continue to infiltrate into Kashmir, with the help of Pakistan’s military.
Earlier this year, Lashkar-e-Taiba took credit for the fighting in Kupwara, and threatened India with the possibility of new attacks. “The gun battles should serve as a message to India that the struggle for Kashmir’s freedom is on with full vigour,” spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi said in late March. Seven Indian soldiers and 25 Lashkar fighters were killed in the battles in Kupwara.
India’s Army chief said Lashkar-e-Taiba still operates 40 to 50 camps in Kashmir and Pakistan.
Pakistan has never acted meaningfully against Lashkar-e-Taiba / Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Instead, the pattern has been to place Saeed under house arrest and claim to shut down the group’s facilities, then later release Saeed and allow the reopening of the group’s offices and camps.
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Its a strange country that allows characters like this to roam free, deputes their army commandos to terror groups (Kashmiri story), bumps off their own retd generals (Alavi), and bribes terrorists not to attack their army but works with them to attack across their borders, left and right.
This arrest is nothing but a charade. People like him are part of the pak system so they will never touch him. Not civilized.
It’s all bad news. The festering sore is allowed to grow, stopped at times from expanding but never excised.
This is already out of control and each time it gets worse.
This is just for show. Timed with Zardari’s current “fundraising” trip to the west and upcoming consideration of Kerry-Lugar. I hope that we don’t (yet again) fall for this charade.
We have no choice BUT to fall for it. We fell for it in 2002, and we’ve been chained to this dying beast ever since. And the sad thing is, if we try to wrest ourselves free from it, we lose it all. So this is very much the lesser of two evils, as sad as that is.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t go to the Indians, who would be all too happy to help out in Afghanistan, if not for Pakistani interferance, both physically and politically. Maybe that avenue should be pursued.
World left the resourceless country for itself, and the country sold nuclear tech to everyone around and what not – without mentioning the reckless dragon. Time to plug holes without much talk.
According to the prominent Pak journalist Najam Sethu of dailytimes.com.pk, the strength of LeT is upwards of 150,000 people … yes 150,000 !!!! ….
Can anybody imagine Pak Army taking on them ?
I am the leader of a terrorist organization. We have murdered hundreds , if not thousands, of people for our cause. Many innocent muslims among them.
Now I am grounded and can’t come out to play, but I can still plan murders of innocent people. You just have to come to my house.
Ain’t life grand?
Today’s LA Times is reporting that Gen. McChrystal has evidence that elements within Pakistan’s ISI as well as Iran’s Quds force are supporting insurgent groups in Afghanistan that are carrying out attacks on the coalition forces.
Pakistan is still very much involved in its old game of plausible deniability through use of surrogates or other covert players. Its civilian leadership talks peace but seems to be completely ineffective in altering policy.
The real power center there most likely rests within the fundamental faction of its military leadership and we seem to be neither engaging nor confronting them. They are prepared to simply wait us out.
In the meantime, as we prepare to pump yet more billions of dollars into that country, we can be sure that some part of that will go towards a bullet, bomb or an IED that will someday be used against us or our allies.
“We fell for it in 2002, and we’ve been chained to this dying beast ever since.”….
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t go to the Indians, who would be all too happy to help out in Afghanistan, if not for Pakistani interferance, both physically and politically. Maybe that avenue should be pursued.”
Depending upon how one looks at it, one can argue that America has been chained in the Pak relationship for a hell of a lot longer. The relationship is rooted in the time of the Cold War. The paradigm has long since shifted, and shifted fundamentally. It is obvious it needs an objective review.
The American perspective has much greater congruence with the Indian perspective whether we are talking terrorism, democracy, judicial values (rule-of-law), economics (capitalism) or cultural values. In that sense, it is conceivable, they make for more natural allies.
(In this Hafiz Saeed story too, America wants to see this man properly charged and tried, just as much as the indians do).
Obama’s present deliberations underscore that America is truly at a crossroads. Decisions made this year, or in the next 6 mths, will have have a lasting impact on the nature of global terrorism and America’s influence in South Asia, arguably across Asia, well into the next decade if not beyond.
Oh true enough, T Ruth, I was just narrowing the focus on the “we give funds, you give us dead terrorists” aspect of the convoluted relationship the U.S has with Pakistan.
As for U.S. influence in Asia, I actually think it would serve America’s interests better in the long run if they backed India’s own sphere of influence rather than try to wrest one for itself, because that way lies madness. The Brits got the closest to it, and it cost them their entire empire in the end. On the other hand, let the Indians take the mantle in their own spheres of influence so that they can keep China in check.
I like your ideas in your lastest post. Makes sense in the long term.