Hafiz Saeed says he hasn’t carried out any terrorist act in Pakistan, and so wants the Pakistani government to remove him from the travel ban list that’s keeping him from leaving Pakistan. Well, we all know that he isn’t involved in terrorism in Pakistan. Why would he bite the hand that’s been feeding him?
But what about India? The chief of radical Islamist organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) reportedly masterminded the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, that left 164 people dead. He is also alleged to have played a role in the Dec 2001 attack on Indian Parliament in capital Delhi. The US has put a bounty of $10 million on him for his reported role in 26/11, and he has been on India’s list of the 50 most wanted criminals for a while now.
In plain terms, Saeed is a mass-murder who justifies his terrorism in the name of Islam. He is responsible for hundreds of killings in India.
Saeed was taken into custody last month, reportedly after the international community including Pakistan’s ally China, turned up the pressure against Islamabad to act against terrorist organisations based out of the country. Saeed, along with his 37 terror associates, was also placed on an Exit Control List (ECL), which legally bars him from leaving Pakistan.
But Saeed’s lawyer AK Dogar is arguing in court, as reported by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on Thursday, that “a memorandum issued on Jan 30, 2017 placing 38 individuals on the ECL should be withdrawn.” According to Dogar, “no material had ever been produced by the federal or provincial governments against Hafiz Saeed.”
Dogar reportedly cited the welfare record of Saeed’s organisation Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), which has reportedly built schools and universities in backward regions of Pakistan. According to the Dawn report, the court made observations that may be viewed favourable to Saeed.
The court reportedly said, “In the present case the Government is not in possession of any evidence that the petitioners are risk to the security of Pakistan and merely on the basis of the UN Resolution their liberty cannot be curtailed.”
Over the years since 26/11, Indian investigators have accused Pakistan of shielding Saeed despite New Delhi providing “concrete evidence” against the terror figurehead on several occasions. And they may be onto something. A Pakistan home ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying in the wake of Saeed’s detention last month,
“If indeed, India is serious about its allegations, it should come up with concrete evidence against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed which is sustainable in court of law in Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world. Mere casting aspersions and levelling allegations without any corroborating evidence would not help the cause of peace in the region.”