NEWS | The Curious Case of Hafiz Saeed

NEWS | The Curious Case of Hafiz Saeed

By IndraStra Global Editorial Team

Image Attribute: Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief or amir of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, / Source: The UnReal Times

Image Attribute: Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief or amir of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, / Source: The UnReal Times

Does the recent decision by Pakistan to finally detain the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks signals a broader shift in the country's treatment of extremist? The question itself is quite open-ended because of a history being associated with Pakistani establishments on providing the safe sanctuary to India-focused jihadis, which it has long regarded as “strategic assets”.

Saeed was earlier arrested on December 21, 2001, in the face of Indian war threats after the attack on Parliament, only to surface again on March 31; arrested again on May 31, 2002, to be released on October 31, 2002; arrested on August 9, 2006, after the Mumbai train bombings, and released on August 28; arrested the same day yet again, and released on October 17, 2006. Not once did he ever face actual criminal prosecution.

The recent initiative by which putting Hafiz Saeed and other Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) benefactors under house arrest are considered to be driven in part by President Donald Trump's arrival on the world stage as well as pressure from China, according to military insiders and experts.

However, in contrast, Saeed openly accused Pakistan of succumbing to Indian pressure.

“This is taking place because of Modi's insistence, Trump's pressure and Pakistan's helplessness,” Saeed stated after his arrest, according to Reuters.

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, the army's public relations chief, Major General Asif Ghafoor, stated at a media briefing on Tuesday: “This (Saeed's arrest) is a policy decision that the state took in (the) national interest. Lots of institutions will have to do their jobs.”

As India cautiously watching Pakistan over the recent development, Hafiz Saeed remained under house arrest at his Johar Town residence in Lahore as his guards were deployed in the inner cordon while the police outside the main gate. JuD has indicated that it would file a petition in Lahore High Court against the house arrest.

On Jan 31st, the India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated: “We have seen reports on the Pakistan Ministry of Interior order placing the Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniyet Foundation under the watchlist and also the notification under which the Falah-e-Insaniyet Foundation has been included in the second schedule of their anti-terror legislation under United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1267.”

“Exercises such as yesterday's orders against Hafiz Saeed and others have been carried out by Pakistan in the past also. Only a credible crack down on the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack and terrorist organizations involved in cross-border terrorism would be proof of Pakistan’s sincerity,” said the MEA.

"It's doubtful Trump actively pressured Pakistan to rein in Hafiz Saeed, but it's likely Pakistan's detention of Saeed was done with Trump in mind," Kugelman wrote. "We can read the house arrest, at least in part, as an effort by Pakistan to showcase its counterterrorism bonafide to the new U.S. administration and to dissuade Trump from adding Pakistan to the list of countries that can't send their citizens to the United States for 90 days. Trump's chief of staff has suggested Pakistan could be added to the list."

Now, as for Pakistan's changing policy towards home-bred terror elements is concerned, there are connections to the switch in the leadership of the Army, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has struggled in dealing with in the past. But, changing of the guard cannot rule out the fact that whole development itself could be the deceptive one. 

With reporting by The Hindu, Dawn, Reuters, and NBC News 
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