hafiz saeed, arrest, pakistan
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Pakistani government’s sudden action to arrest and detain Jammat-ud-Dawwah’s founder leader Hafiz Saeed along with his four party members has been reported worldwide, as a breaking development, and has lead to all kinds of speculations.

Has Hafiz been arrested under specific US demands? 

An aide of Hafiz Saeed has claimed that Hafiz has been arrested under the US pressure, as reported by BBC. But there is no clarity if anyone from Trump administration has actually spoken to key Pakistani government officials demanding specific action against Hafiz and his organization or whether Pakistani officials are acting in their own interpretation of what they need to do to ward off a possible pressure from Trump administration.

Hafiz Saeed: Pakistan detains 26/11 Mumbai attacks suspect – BBC News

Has China demanded action against Hafiz Saeed?

Prominent US analyst, Michel Kugelman, on the other hand, thought that China’s pressure may have been more important than the US pressure.


India’s leading English paper, Hindustan Times, also quoting an unnamed security analyst in Islamabad, argued that China too might have nudged Pakistan on the need to act against wanted terrorists. This also appears a speculation, at this stage and it has a believable context: China had repeatedly applied “Hold” inside the UN Security Council where India had been building a case for declaring Maulana Masood Azhar an international terrorist. That had a sour point between India and China and during the recent India-Russia Dialogue, in New Delhi, this was on the points that was agitated along with India’s objections on CPEC.

Read more: Pressure from US, China may have led to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest, Hindustan Times

Details of Action against Hafiz Saeed & JuD? 

Earlier on Monday night, a large police contingent surrounded Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s headquarters at Jamia Masjid al-Qadsia in the bustling Chowburji area of Lahore. Hafiz was holding a meeting with his aides. Orders issued by the federal interior ministry had directed the home department of Punjab province to place Saeed and four of his aides in “preventive detention”.

LeT was an openly declared militant organization, in late 1990’s, that publicly supported Jihad against Indian forces in Indian controlled Kashmir. It was banned by Musharraf govt. after 9/11. However Indian government and media have always accused, Jamaat-ut-Dawwah of being the face for the banned party Lashkar-e -Tayyaba

JuD, believed to be the successor to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), now runs as a charity organisation, working particularly in Kashmir and Baluchistan. LeT was an openly declared militant organization, in late 1990’s, that publicly supported Jihad against Indian forces in Indian controlled Kashmir. It was banned by Musharraf govt. after 9/11. However Indian government and media have always accused, Jamaat-ut-Dawwah of being the face for the banned party Lashkar-e -Tayyaba and the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

US Bounty of $10 million against Hafiz Saeed in 2012

Hafiz Saeed has been declared a globally designated terrorist by the United Nations and in 2012, the US also announced a $10 million bounty on Saeed. However Hafiz has always maintained that he had no link to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and that Indian or the US governments have never provided any evidence connecting him with the Mumbai terrorism, and that he has written to UN offering to present his case and to challenge whatever evidence they have, and never got a reply. He maintains that the case against him is of political nature.

Read more: Hilary Clinton approved Lashkar Chief Hafiz Saeed’s terrorist designation: US – Times of India

In April 2012, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during a trip to India, announced a $10 million bounty on his head, it was to give a reward to anyone that could provide “evidence” against Hafiz Saeed.

In April 2012, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during a trip to India, announced a $10 million bounty on his head, it was to give a reward to anyone that could provide “evidence” against Hafiz Saeed. Hafiz immediately went on holding public rallies across Pakistani Punjab, then ruled by Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN, questioning the credibility of the whole case against him when US government was still announcing reward for providing evidence to link him with the Mumbai terrorism. That also lead to an embarrassing press briefing in the State Department when US media persons asked the US State Department that what is the basis of our case against Hafiz when we are still offering rewards to get evidence linking him with Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan’s interior ministry has now clarified, on Monday night, that both groups – the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and JuD–have been placed on the watch list and put on the second schedule under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. It mentioned it was doing to because of their activities to ‘harm security and peace’ and violate activities under UNSC resolution 1267.

Under Section 11-EEE(1) of the ATA, the government can now detain him for a period of 12 months by extending this period from time to time. This action by the government came a couple of hours after a conference held by the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in which he said that the government was taking steps to fulfil its international obligations regarding JuD.

Hafiz arrested several times previously? 

But Pakistani governments have arrested Hafiz Saeed several times, sometimes for prolonged periods, since the attacks in Mumbai. Cases against him were presented in the court but in the end he was bailed out for want of any ‘credible evidence’. Pakistani officials, quietly admit that no real evidence was ever provided by the Indian government that can stand legal scrutiny in a court room. Hafiz is thus seen more as a political issue, and actions against him are always taken under the Indian demands that emerge through the US. But has new Trump administration asked specifically Pakistan to act against Hafiz and Jammat-ut-Dawwah?

At a press conference earlier in the same day, Hafiz Saeed had condemned the government for being pressurized to arrest him by the US and described his struggle to that of Kashmiris.

Govt Explanation: Meeting of Pak Ambassador with US Asst Secretary of State? 

On Monday, “The News” newspaper of Jang & Geo Group, reported that it has reason to believe that this action by the government took place because of a meeting that took place on January 11 between the United States assistant secretary of state and Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, where he warned that Pakistan faced sanctions if it did not declare JuD “defunct”. And therefore “Consultations are going on whether to declare JuD as defunct or not”. Since “The News” is considered an insider of the government circles in Islamabad, this could be taken as the official explanation of what is happening and why.

Chances of Pakistan being added to the list were slim, since Pakistani data registration authority, NADRA, already shares all its data with the US Home Land Security (DHS) and Trump’s concerns on international Islamic terrorism are exclusively directed towards ISIS for which he had assigned Gen. James Mattis, new Secretary Defense to chart a strategy

Implications of Arrest for Pakistan

But the actions of Pakistani government nevertheless raise serious questions. It has happened at a time when President Donald Trump has placed visa embargo and travel restrictions upon citizens of seven Muslim countries and there were fears amongst Pakistanis that lobbies connected with India will try their level best to drag Pakistan into that list. Chances of Pakistan being added to the list were slim, since Pakistani data registration authority, NADRA, already shares all its data with the US Home Land Security (DHS) and Trump’s concerns on international Islamic terrorism are exclusively directed towards ISIS for which he had assigned Gen. James Mattis, new Secretary Defense to chart a strategy and Mattis is about to visit Syria and Iraq in this connection. But given Pakistani government’s unwise moves, it may now be inviting trouble.

India’s Strategic Needs? 

Read more: President Donald Trump: What about Pakistan & India?

Trump administration’s series of decision making, and the statements emanating from president himself make it obvious that its focus is not on India-Pakistan; it is however India’s strongly felt strategic need to force Trump administration to address its concerns regarding Pakistan and to ensure that the new administration in Washington continues to deal with Pakistan as a “terror sponsoring state”.

Arresting Hafiz Saeed or even banning his Jammat-ut-Dawwah, at this point, only serve to remind the world that Pakistan has roots of terrorism. It only makes it visible, more prominent. It will now attract more negative attention towards Pakistan in international media

Arresting Hafiz Saeed or even banning his Jammat-ut-Dawwah, at this point, only serve to remind the world that Pakistan has roots of terrorism. It only makes it visible, more prominent. It will now attract more negative attention towards Pakistan in international media; in a vicious circle it may increase Pakistan’s difficulties with Trump administration. If it is followed by a high profile terror attack against any western or even Pakistani target in the next few days or weeks it will suddenly help all those lobbies that want to remind the world again and again that Pakistan is the “real problem”. It will reduce Pakistan’s chances of taking new initiatives that can find itself a role in Trump’s world view. If Indian lobbies succeeded in adding Pakistan to the list of countries facing travel restrictions then theoretically its strategic paradigm of getting Pakistan declared Pakistan a “terror state” will make substantive progress.

What were Pakistan’s real options? 

Instead of allowing Indian lobbies define Pakistan to Trump administration, Pakistani government needed to take multiple initiatives towards Afghanistan, where there is much more room to play and to become part of solutions. Trump administration is eager to cooperate with Putin’s Russia to destroy ISIS. Afghanistan is a potential flashpoint.

Instead of thinking ‘out of box’ Pakistani government has again demonstrated its limited imagination and has followed the beaten path of ‘placating India’. India is not looking for ‘solutions”; its strategic need is to keep Pakistan defined and restricted inside a box of “terrorism against India”; Pakistani government, in another goofy miscalculation, has helped India and only multiplied its challenges.

Russians have openly admitted their contacts with Taliban – since they see ethnically driven nationalistic movement of Taliban as a counter to ISIS. Gen. James Mattis and Gen. Michel Flynn both will be playing important role in this new changing scenario and President Trump relies more upon his generals than on the usual political and think tank pundits. Even new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, given his energy background, is eager towards energy cooperation scenarios in Central Asia and will be less averse to a Russian role in conflict resolution. Instead of thinking ‘out of box’ Pakistani government has again demonstrated its limited imagination and has followed the beaten path of ‘placating India’. India is not looking for ‘solutions”; its strategic need is to keep Pakistan defined and restricted inside a box of “terrorism against India”; Pakistani government, in another goofy miscalculation, has helped India and only multiplied its challenges.

Moeed Hasan Pirzada is a Pakistani political commentator, geostrategic analyst, and a television news journalist. He is an anchor at Dunya News and hosts TV programs. He has interviewed many politicians around the world. Moeed Hassan Pirzada has also been a Director World Affairs and Content Head of PTV News and hosted the famous talk show Sochta Pakistan, a program that discussed national, regional, strategic, social and educational issues with politicians, analysts and policy makers. He has worked with Dunya News-TV channel as a Director World Affairs and hosted the current affairs talk show Dunya Today. He has written for Dubai-based regional paper Khaleej Times. His columns have appeared in major Pakistani papers such as Dawn, The News International, Daily Times, Friday Times and blogs. He has attended national and international conferences, seminars and policy workshops and had been a member of the Prime Minister's Education Task Force that collaborated with the British Council to produce the Next Generation Report. He has contributed policy papers to Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and also written several policy pieces for Pique Magazine. He is an Executive Director of Governance & Policy Advisors (GAPA) that provides consultancy services to the government institutions, development organizations and corporate bodies on issues related to media, governance, health policy, and regional peace.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hafiz Saeed Is Not A Terrorist But A Man of Conscience,He Speaks Against Atrocities Committed By Real Terrorists India and USA.That Is Why Everyone Including Our Puppet Government Is After Him

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