Looks like Pakistan just doesn’t get it. Hafiz Saeed is acknowledged as a global terrorist the world over, including at the United Nations, but Islamabad wants more evidence. A leading plotter of 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, Saeed features on Indian government’s list of 50 most-wanted criminals hiding in Pakistan. The US in 2012 put a bounty of $10 million on him for his role in the 2008 Mumbai assault, that left 164 including American citizens dead.
But, we are dealing with Pakistan here. Successive Pakistani governments have been so hypocritical on Hafiz Saeed that it’s started to border on ludicrous. Really, it is just funny the double standards our neighbour mindlessly employs when it comes to the Saeed, who is also alleged to have played a role in the Dec 2001 attack on Indian Parliament in capital Delhi. Not only Indians and the world, even some from within Pakistan see it now.
— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) February 2, 2017
(Source: Twitter/Mehreen Zahra-Malik)
Time and again since Indian investigators started nailing his role in organising terror attacks on India, Pakistan has been seen resisting efforts to extradite the terror figurehead, also the head of globally-designated jihadist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
They put him under arrest, either at his own home or in a high-security prison, when global powers step up the pressure, and just let him walk out a free man as soon the pressure tap is turned off. Each time he is taken into custody, Islamabad demands “concrete evidence” from India so they could pursue a case against him in a Pakistani court. And eventually, Saeed walks away without any substantial legal charges pressed against him, and goes on to make provocative remarks about Kashmir and India.
Frustratingly enough for New Delhi, this whole Hafiz thing is turning into a futile cycle that’s repeating itself over and over. Remember how he was arrested in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, and then released within an year. It was the same story after the 2001 jihadist assault on Indian Parliament.
There is no reason to believe that the outcome of Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest in Pakistan this time around will be any different. The action by Islamabad comes amid America’s Donald Trump’s ongoing crackdown on Muslim immigration to the States, with Pakistan said to have barely missed the list of countries which feature on US’ travel ban list.
Just two days into the arrest, Pakistan is already demanding “concrete evidence” from India against the radical Islamist preacher. We all likely know by now how this whole thing is going to unfold, don’t we?
Here’s what one of Pakistan’s home ministry spokespersons was quoted as saying, “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.”
May be India should stop relying on Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice and explore other options, as often mooted in India’s security establishment. May be a US-style raid that took out Osama Bin Laden?