Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, is an internationally designated terrorist with a bounty of $10 million announced by the US on his head. However, he is an influential figure in Pakistan and as alleged, this man, in keeping with Pakistani establishment’s wishes, continues anti-India sloganeering, rallies, instigating violence and disturbing peace in the Kashmir valley and planning of attacks on the Indian soil.
Saeed has already been named as the one of the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and is known for his alleged involvements in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and 2001 Indian Parliament attack. His name also features in the NIA list of Most Wanted in India. However, the coming of Trump administration in the US and finding a perfect partner in the form of Indian Prime Minister is seen as a real threat to Islamist terrorism all over the world. Pakistan first felt the wave of change and was forced to take the unprecedented step of cancelling the 44 weapon licenses issued to Saeed and his aides, placing Saeed under house arrest, and listing him under the anti-terrorism law.
Shalabh Kumar described PM Modi and President Trump as “kindred spirits who are willing to forego the niceties of the political elites to get things done on behalf of a population eager for economic growth”. Kumar was a member of Trump’s Transition Finance and Inauguration Committee and founding chairman of the Republican Hindu Coalition. “Pakistan’s abrupt defanging of terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed is a result of behind the scenes effort by the Trump administration led by a ‘new and tough sheriff in town’ and a ‘skilled and receptive partner’ in New Delhi who, together form a mortal threat to Islamist terrorism everywhere,” Kumar wrote in Breitbart News.
He even pointed out that it took only ten days for the new administration in the US to act on the issue of terrorism. The Indian-American acolyte, Shalabh Kumar also wrote in Breitbart News, “it is (Indian Prime Minster Narendra) Modi’s insistence and Trump’s instigation’ for making Pakistan take action against terrorists like Hafiz Saeed.”
US President Donald Trump’s close aide Kumar even said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed is right in saying that Pakistan is helpless against the combined pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump. “On this issue, the terrorist is right. The Pakistani government correctly appreciates that…”
Even the Pakistan Defence minister Khawaja Asif admitted (as reported in The News International) in the international security conference in Munich, Germany, “Saeed can pose a serious threat to the society. He was arrested in the larger interest of the country.” During a panel discussion on countering extremism and terrorism, Asif said: “Terrorism is not synonymous with any religion. Terrorists aren’t Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. They are terrorists, they are criminals.” This statement, however, comes after the admission by Musharraf to India Today that Kashmir militants are used as tools against India. Debates have started in Pakistani media to stop making distinctions between ‘good’ terrorists (like Saeed, Syed Salauddin, etc.) and ‘bad’ terrorists (like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Taliban, etc.)
This statement by the minister has made several political and religious leaders across Islamabad to brand him as the ‘mouthpiece’ of India. The defence of Pakistan council chairman, Maulana Samiul Haq, Shah Zain Bugti, Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan, Liaquat Baloch, Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, Sardar Latif Ahmad Khosa and Senator Hafiz Hamdullah, Jamshed Ahmad Dasti were some of the leaders who too came down heavily on Asif. Even the 26/11 mastermind has lashed out at the Pakistan defence minister for his statement made at the security conference.
However, Indian commentators feel that the minister’s stance is just to divert the US and global attention. They have even questioned this house-arrest terming it as an eye-wash. They even feel that because of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) scrutiny, Pakistan has been compelled to act.