External Affairs

Hafiz Saeed’s JuD to Contest 2018 Pakistan General Elections

Hafiz Saeed. Credit: PTI

Hafiz Saeed. Credit: PTI

Lahore: Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Saturday confirmed that his organisation Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) was planning to contest the 2018 general elections under the banner of Milli Muslim League (MML) which is yet to be registered in the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Saeed, who was under house arrest since January this year, walked free on November 24 after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case.

“The MML is planning to contest next year s general elections.I also dedicate 2018 for Kashmiris who are struggling for freedom,” Saeed said while meeting a group of columnists at the JuD headquarters in Chauburji here.

The JuD, a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group that carried out the deadly 2008 Mumbai attack, formed MML at the time when Saeed was detained in Lahore.

The founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba also vowed to continue supporting Kashmiris.

“I want to tell India that I will continue support Kashmiris no matter what kind of difficulties are there. India wants us to stop raising voice for the Kashmiris. It is building pressure on the Pakistani government. I want to tell Pakistan that back-channel diplomacy only caused harm to the Kashmir cause,” he alleged.

Saeed, who is accused of having masterminded the November 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, was placed on the terrorism blacklist by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

The US too has designated him as a global terrorist and has announced a reward of $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Saeed also claimed that his detention in Pakistan and Hurriyat leaders in India was part of an international agenda.

“This had been done to harm the Kashmir cause. India is angry over my release from the house detention. I warn India if it does not stop atrocities against Kashmiris then this struggle will rise further and it will face the music,” he said.

Last September when Saeed was under house arrest in Lahore, the JuD entered in the political arena and contested by-poll from Lahore’s NA-120.

That National Assembly had fallen vacant after the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. His wife Kulsoom Nawaz had won that seat.

Sheikh Yaqoob, a JuD-backed candidate who secured 6,000 votes, had announced that the JuD which has the blessing of Saeed would contest 2018 elections.

Yaqoob was placed in 2012 on a US Treasury sanctions list of those designated as leaders of terrorist organisations.

India had expressed outrage over the judicial board’s decision to release Saeed, calling it an attempt by Pakistan to mainstream proscribed terrorists and a reflection of its continuing support to non-state actors.

Saeed has now filed the petition to delist him from the UN list of designated terrorists.

He was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack but he was freed by a court in 2009.

Nine of the Mumbai attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught and executed after a trial.

India had expressed outrage over the judicial board’s decision to release Saeed, calling it an attempt by Pakistan to mainstream proscribed terrorists and a reflection of its continuing support to non-state actors.

Saeed has now filed the petition to delist him from the UN list of designated terrorists.

He was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack but he was freed by a court in 2009.

Nine of the Mumbai attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught and executed after a trial.

(PTI)