For the first time, the Pakistan government acknowledged that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed was a threat to the country. The move came from Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif during an international security conference in Munich, Germany.
According to The Nation, Asif said, “Saeed could pose a serious threat to society and has been arrested in the larger national interest”.
Saeed was placed under house arrest under the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) on January 30. Also, earlier this month he was put on Exit Control List which prohibited 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 was taken after Pakistan was hit by at least eight terror attacks in which at least 100 people killed.
Asif said Pakistan is determined to fight against 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.”
It was India’s long-standing demand to take action against Saeed. He was not only responsible for 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai but also several other attacks in India. He was also allegedly involved in the Kashmir unrest following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani.
Reports said Saeed is one of the most powerful persons in Pakistan and for some, he is a social worker who works for the welfare of the people.
Even the former president of the country Pervez Musharraf said Jamaat-ud-Dawa was an NGO and they were not terrorists. So Hafiz should be freed.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Monday, “Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism.”
In February itself the country witnessed deadly attacks in almost all of Pakistan’s big cities. The latest attack was a suicide bombing on a Sufi shrine in Sindh province which killed almost 88 people.