Charges dropped against Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan’s Teflon Don


This news shouldn’t surprise the readers of the Threat Matrix and The Long War Journal. The Lahore High Court has dismissed terrorism charges against Lashkar-e-Taiba / Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed. From The Times of India:

Pakistan’s Lahore High Court on Monday dismissed the FIRs lodged under anti-terrorism act against JuD chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed, who is the main accused in the 26/11 [Mumbai] terror attacks.

Anti-terror law does not apply to Saeed,” the high court said while dismissing the two cases adding he could not be charged under the act as his outfit was not banned in the country.

A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court issued the order in response to a petition filed by Saeed last month in which he had challenged two First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against him by police in Faisalabad city of Punjab province under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

To rub some salt into the wound, the charges were dropped just one day after the military ended the Taliban siege of Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Hafiz Saeed should now officially be called the Teflon Don of Pakistan. Saeed has been put under house arrest numerous times since the Sept. 11 attacks, only to be freed by Pakistan’s courts. Pakistan’s government designated both the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaat-ud-Dawa as banned terror groups, yet the “Anti-terror law does not apply to Saeed.” Mafia boss John Gotti would be proud of Saeed’s ability to dodge jail while flaunting his activities.

As US intelligence officials told me last June, if you want to see how serious Pakistan is about fighting terrorism, look no further than how the country deals with Hafiz Saeed:

US intelligence officials are dismayed at Saeed’s release and say the move shows that Pakistan has a long way to go to defeat terror groups operating on its soil.

“Forget what you are seeing in Swat,” an intelligence official closely watching Pakistan told The Long War Journal. “More than six months after Mumbai, there has yet to be a single conviction or even a trial of anyone involved in the attack. Pakistan does not have the capacity to try and convict known terrorists.”

“Saeed is untouchable, and don’t think the courts and the police don’t know this,” another official said, warning that the continuous policy of releasing of leaders like Saeed, Red Mosque leader Maulana Abdullah Aziz, and others is sending a terrible message to those on the front lines against the terror groups.

“As long as he and others like him are free, Pakistan will remain a terror state,” the official said. “Until Pakistan shows it is serious about taking down the leadership of the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, these groups will regenerate and prosper. And law enforcement in Pakistan will shy away from taking them on.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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