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Hafiz Saeed's arrest, Pakistan's bid to curb terror a mere eyewash, says former envoy

News Agencies | Updated on: 25 July 2019, 8:20 IST

As Pakistan's Imran Khan-government continues to pat its back after arresting UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, claiming that it is adamant on eradicating terrorism from its soil, the reality is in stark contrast as per former Pakistan Envoy to United Kingdom, Wajid Shamsul Hasan. He, in an opinion piece, underlines how the apprehension of the Mumbai terror attack master mind is a mere eyewash and propaganda exercise to appease the United States.

Hasan in an Op-ed published in investigative news portal 'Surkhiyan' writes that "ninth time arrest of the terror group Jamaat-ud-Dawa's chief has a lot to do with Khan's Washington Yatra."

"Hafiz's arrest provoked a prompt tweet from no less than President Trump who described his nabbing as a big success for his efforts. Indeed, Hafiz Saeed's case has been very important from American point of view as well PAKISTAN where he was top of the order proxy warrior in the eyes of the Establishment," he opined.

"His arrest on the eve of Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the US was described as very timely development. It would wipe Trump's tears since Hafiz Saeed, leader of the banned Jamaatud Dawa is a UN-and US-designated global terrorist," he added.

Not withstanding Pakistan's claim that the decision to nab Hafiz Saeed is part of Khan's new strategy to nab extremist elements to improve Pakistan's bargaining position with India and other countries, Hassan in his article unveils the truth behind the arrest of Saeed.

Quoting a statement from the horse's mouth i.e. Hafiz Saeed, Hassan said, "In his last Friday sermon before his arrest Hafiz Saeed gave reasons why he was going to be arrested just on the eve of Prime Minister Khan's official visit to Washington."

"According to him (Hafiz Saeed) he, his JuD and other likeminded groups who jointly fought with the erstwhile Soviet Union to get it out of Afghanistan and were found by the Americans as most favourable and tenacious proxy fighters for their war against Communist Russia as fodders for their guns. Hafiz Saeed recalled how on his single hundreds of jihadi fighters would collect to offer their fighting services for the Holy Jihad. He reminded his Jumma audience how he and others like him in the holy cause established their network of madaris around the Pak-Afghan border to sustain ready supply of volunteers for the Jihad," Hassan said.

"In the post Soviet withdrawal scenario from Afghanistan all these groups both in Afghanistan and Pakistan got banded together for fighting an anti- American, Anti NATO jihad shoulder to shoulder with Taliban According to Hafiz Saeed, in this anti American jihadi Alliances Iranian trained volunteers or Pasdarans have joined in support of their holy war against Washington. According to him, assistance in men that the United States used to get from Pakistan to fight the Soviets, has now joined JuD and other Jihadi forces fighting their battle against American occupation of Afghanistan, " Hassan added.

According to the former envoy, reliable sources close to Hafiz Saeed claim that now America has forced Pakistan Law enforcers to arrest him (Hafiz Saeed ) and his group members to please the Americans who are believed to be seeking Hafiz Saeed services and JuD volunteers to wage a proxy war on their behalf with Iran.

"In his sermon Hafiz Saeed also revealed that at the behest of his Pakistani handlers he had reined in his Jihadi fighters from carrying on fresh attacks on Indian soldiers in Kashmir till such time when General Bajwa gets disappointed in Imran Khan's efforts to bring India to restart the composite dialogue," Hassan said.

However, as quoted by Hassan, Hafiz Saeed while meeting his followers despite his arrest, conveys to them not to worry, says "It is temporary flirtation of Pakistani leaders to hoodwink the Americans. Once they secure their pound of flesh, business would be restored to back to usual."

Hassan stresses "that extremist elements believe that the government of Pakistan cannot lay off its claim on Indian held Kashmir and that ultimately Pakistan Army shall have to fall back on the proxy warriors to keep the issue alive and to continue to bleed India slowly to the pleasure of GHQ."

Meanwhile, Hafiz Saeed's arrest became more significant since it was welcomed by President Trump who claimed his success in his arrest in his tweet that after so many years of his efforts Pakistan has finally found Hafiz Saeed and arrested him. Ignorance being bliss for him President Trump did not know how many times in the past too Hafiz Saeed was arrested, tried in court and then released for want of credible evidence against him, said Hassan.

"Khan has been trying to dispel the impression that he has elements within his government who want to play foul. Indeed, his Interior Minister, a retired Brigadier of ISI, who has remained allegedly in cahoots with various extremist groups, continues to be a suspect in Washington after he was found harbouring Daniel Pearl kidnapper Omar Saeed Sheikh. Khan cannot do much about him as Brigadier (r) Ijaz Shah is a nominee of the military in his government with the key portfolio of Interior that gives him overbearing power over intelligence apparatus and law enforcers," Hassan asserted.

Notably, if the Prosecution cannot prove Hafiz Saeed's involvement in terrorist activities, his detention would prove to be nothing more than what is popularly known as "protective custody" in which the arrested person is kept within his house, he does not go out, he can, however, meet anyone he wants to.

Further highlighting the real face of Pakistan's claimed efforts to curb terrorism, Hassan explained, "In Pakistan, the practice so far has been that government bans an organisation one day, the very next day it adopts a new name and becomes operational under the cover of a relief organisation. Obviously, they are allowed very conveniently by law enforcers to circumvent the government ban on them."

Hassan quoting, Democrat leader State Hillary Clinton said "once (then) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it before the Congress that time has shown that such groups cannot be 'managed', nor their inherently violent proclivities turned on and off at will against one's adversary. And that a time comes when snakes that you feed in your backyard bite your hand too. Indeed, that is the lesson Pakistan learnt for its role of raising the Taliban and encouraging cross-border terrorism.


First published: 25 July 2019, 8:20 IST