Hafiz Saeed Scores Duck in Pak Polls: Lessons for J&K

nd Prime Minister of the country. While it is a matter of conjecture what changes the new regime will bring to India-Pakistan relations, India can take solace in one outcome of the elections. Hafiz Saeed’s party Allah-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) drew a blank. Parts of Pakistan establishment continue to do everything possible to shield Mumbai attack mastermind Saeed despite being declared by UN a terrorist carrying $10 million bounty on his head. The last step to glorify him was his induction along with other radicalised elements into mainstream politics. Saeed’s family members and a bunch of extremists did contest elections, launching 265 candidates including 12 women, under the banner of AAT but failed to win a single seat. Saeed’s rallies in last few years have been attended by large crowd which created an optical mirage that he commands a mass support base, one of the reasons of his enjoying patronage of many political parties also. Hafiz Saeed’s fate in Pakistan elections brings some important lessons for Kashmir. People of Kashmir have been silently suffering the scourge of terrorism, sponsored/inducted by Pakistan Army/ISI for many years. The extortion and terrorising of family members for recruitment of young children has been on rampage for decades. People accept to suffer silently for the fear of their family and wellbeing. They prefer not to give information to security because by doing so, the inconvenience caused by resultant searches by security forces is as good as destruction at the hands of militants. A disturbed Kashmir suits state politicians; it keeps the fund tap running. The separatists are a bigger evil who are involved in money laundering, organise stone pelting, and practically managing every facet of terror industry. They push children of others into deathbed while they themselves enjoy the most luxurious life, with their own children studying/working at safer places in India or abroad. Saeed’s electoral drubbing is going to discourage powers that be to induct militants into any electoral exercise in Kashmir. It is now for Indian state to rally this point to the people of Kashmir and the world as to why the separatists never participate in elections. For, they are likely to meet the same fate in elections as that of Hafiz Saeed and his party. The Pakistan Army and ISI will continue treating Hafiz Saeed, LeT and JuD, as their strategic weapon against India. However, they cannot help Saeed beyond a point in an electoral exercise. They are likely to draw this lesson for their Kashmir strategy and advise their puppets in the state to desist from elections. India now must leverage this opportunity in inviting one and all to take part in the democratic exercise. It can throw the gauntlet to the separatists and leaders of militant organisations to prove their mettle and acceptance to the people of Kashmir. Also, it is for the regional political parties in Kashmir to realise that it is futile to feed and protect separatists living on Indian tax payer’s money but working at cross-purpose. The crowd following them or gathering at their instructions is not the vote bank, but has gathered out of allurement, fear or other compulsions. This is also the right time to expedite investigations by NIA to charge-sheet the separatists, establishing their money trail and being in cahoots to sponsor terrorism in the Valley. The state, currently under Governor’s Rule, may be scheduled for Assembly elections in the following year, possibly alongside the Lok Sabha elections. The Centre’s Kashmir desk must put together a plan to publicise terror’s defeat at the hustings among the state’s polity and political leadership. This will go a long way in discrediting the separatists and those providing political protection to militants.   (Major General S B Asthana, SM, VSM, served multiple tenures in Kashmir. He tweets @asthana_shashi)]]>

US says Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted

The US has said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, should be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law” as Washington regards him as a terrorist. Washington has sent a message to Islamabad to act against Saeed, said US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday. Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier decided not to prosecute Saeed, referring to him as “Sahib” in an interview to Geo News earlier this week. He said there was no case against him in Pakistan. Nauert, reacting to Abbasi’s remarks, said: “We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attack which killed many people, including Americans as well. “We have made our points and our concerns to the Pakistani government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted. “The Pakistani government released him from house arrest not that long ago. We believe he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He is listed by the UN Security Council 1267, the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e Taiba,” she said. The White House has already clarified that there would be repercussions for US-Pakistan relations unless Islamabad takes action to detain and charge Saeed. Pakistani authorities released Saeed from house arrest in November due to lack of evidence, much to the US administration’s frustration. In May 2008, the US Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. He was also individually designated by the UN under UNSC R1267 in December 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 Indians and foreigners were killed. Amid increasing pressure from the US, however, Pakistan recently started a decisive move against proscribed organisations, including Saeed’s JuD and its subsidiary Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). Fundraising and other activities by proscribed organisations and their subsidiaries had been banned in Islamabad.

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Hafiz Saeed to contest general elections next year

Days after his release from house arrest, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed on Saturday announced his decision to contest general elections in Pakistan next year, reports said. Saeed said he would contest the election on the platform of Milli Muslim League (MML), though he did not disclose anything about the constituency, reported Pakistani media. The JuD floated the MML in August this year to mark its entry into politics, promising to make Pakistan “a real Islamic and welfare state”. In January this year, the JuD chief had been detained under the Anti-Terrorism Act. But, as the court refused to extend his detention on November 23, he was released from house arrest.

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Saeed release is failure of 'hugplomacy', says Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday and termed the latter’s relationship with US President Donald Trump as failed “hugplomacy”.

“Narendrabhai, baat nahi bani (this is not done). Terror mastermind is free. President Trump just delinked Pak military funding from LeT. Hugplomacy fail. More hugs urgently needed,” Gandhi tweeted on Saturday morning. The Bharatiya Janata Party hit back at Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress vice-president should stand with the country and not with the mastermind of the Mumbai massacre. “Rahul baba, Aadte nahi badli (Habits have not changed). For once, stand with the country and not with Terrorists as is your habit. You are a known sympathiser of LeT. WikiLeaks and Ishrat Jahan case cover-up exposed your links. By the way have you congratulated your ‘Hafeez Saheb’ on his release yet,” BJP spokesperson G.V.L Narsimha Rao said in a tweet. Accusing the Congress of showing sympathy with Pakistan, the BJP leader said “Congress Ka Haath, Aatankivadiyon ke Saath” would be a more appropriate slogan for the grand old party. “While Manmohan Singh’s government treated Pakistan as a victim state and let it off lightly, Narendra Modi has succeeded in isolating and cornering Pakistan as terroristan not just in the region but globally and in all international fora like the UN, G20, BRICS, ASEAN etc,” Rao said. He said that the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have repeatedly betrayed the country by pandering to anti-India elements. “The manner in which they questioned the surgical strikes against the terror launch pads across the LoC and the utterly disgraceful attacks against the army chief as a ‘Street thug (Sadak Ka Goonda)’ and Rahul Gandhi’s joining the groups shouting “Bharat ki barbaadi” slogans are symptomatic of Congress party’s support for anti-India sentiments. “The statements of Congress leaders eulogising and praising Burhan Wani and their solidarity for separatists clearly show their sympathies for pro-Pakistan elements. It is a tragedy that a party which ruled India for six decades has compromised with the terrorist groups that have bled India for the sake of appeasing a minority vote bank. They have abused Hindu religion with terms like Hindu Terror and Saffron terror for appeasing minorities. In no other country, terror is politicised as the Congress sought to do in power,” he said in a statement.   Saeed walks, and talks of continuing jihad in Kashmir Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, accused by India and the US of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai massacre, was on Friday freed after 10 months of house arrest here and vowed to continue the “jihad” for Jammu and Kashmir’s “independence”. In an address to his supporters massed outside his Johar Town residence, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader thanked the Lahore High Court for refusing to buy the government’s arguments that his release would pose a threat to public safety. His release, he said, was a victory for Pakistan. “Just as I am free today, Kashmir will also be free one day,” Saeed said. “It is because of Kashmir that India has been after me. “I pray to Allah to give us strength so that we keep fighting for Kashmir’s independence (from India),” he told his supporters who had begun gathering outside his house even before the midnight hour. Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty announced by the US for his role in terrorist activities, was released just after Thursday midnight, after a Lahore High Court review board turned down the government’s arguments that he was a threat to public safety. The US on Friday said it was “deeply concerned” over the release of Hafiz Saeed and asked Pakistan to “arrest and charge” him for his terrorist crimes. “The US is deeply concerned that Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. “The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.” A court on Wednesday ruled out prolonging Saeed’s house arrest due to a lack of evidence or justification for it. Saeed was placed under house arrest on January 30 this year and a court regularly renewed his detention. As his detention order expired on Thursday midnight, authorities withdrew jail staff from his residence. “Now he is free and can go anywhere,” JuD spokesperson Ahmed Nadeem told Efe news. Police left Saeed’s house at midnight, he said. The US and the UN classify JuD as a terrorist group and it is alleged to be a front organization for the terror outfit LeT, whose attack on Mumbai led to the death of 166 Indians and foreigners and almost brought India and Pakistan to war. Interpol has also issued a red notice for his arrest. New Delhi also accuses the LeT of carrying out terror attacks in other parts of India, including Jammu and Kashmir, where a separatist campaign backed by Pakistan and raging since 1989 has left thousands dead. Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack but was released about six months later. India had earlier denounced the Pakistani court’s decision to free Saeed, saying it “confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of the Pakistani government in bringing to justice the perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism”. Although seen as a terrorist, Saeed’s group is popular for its charitable work in Pakistan.

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  (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editroial policy) (IANS) // ]]>