Hafiz Saeed, a UN and US designated global terrorist, has sent Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir (spelt Dastgeer by Saeed’s lawyer) a notice demanding written apology and seeking forgiveness for calling him a terrorist and his organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a terror organization in a BBC interview.

Dastgir, in case fails to do so, will have to face civil and criminal action in courts with a defamation suit of Rs 100 million and a possible jail sentence upto two years, the notice sent yesterday by Hafiz Saeed says.

Dastgir had in the interview on 3 January said that action against Hafiz Saeed’s organizations Jamaat-ud JuD, the front of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned terror outfit, and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), was not taken under US pressure.

He said, instead, the step was taken under Pakistan Army’s Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad after Pakistan’s own internal assessment and serious deliberation. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad or operation for elimination of discord was launched in February 2017 with an aim to eliminate the residual and latent threats of terrorism like sleeper cells from Pakistan.

“It is not that we will take up arms against our own country — that time has passed and these terrorists cannot attack their own country with guns and Pakistan would now make calculated decisions so that the children can remain safe in schools,” Dastgir further added.

Pakistan’s Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a directive which bars JuD, FIF and other organizations listed by the United Nations Security Council from collecting donations. Pakistan’s financial regulator has also prohibited people to make donation to such proscribed organizations and individuals.

The action came soon after US President Donald Trump’s tweet on the New Year Day saying no more US aid to Pakistan and calling the country a liar and deceitful partner and was largely seen as taken under US pressure.

The notice sent by Hafiz Saeed under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 of Pakistan calls comments by Dastgir in the interview falsehoods, absolutely baseless, unfounded and intended to malign JuD and compares it with the the Edhi Foundation, a nationwide NGO in Pakistan founded by revered philanthropist and humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi, who passed away last year, and says calling members of such an organization as persons who hit the children at school with bullets is nothing short of a sin.

Hafiz Saeed had also served a similar defamation notice of Rs 100 million to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in September 2017. The notice came after Asif called terrorists and terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed liabilities but decried the US pressure to neutralize them as these very terrorists used to be the “darling of the United States just 20 to 30 years back.”



A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Pakistan has given the government two days to file charge-sheet against Jamat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four associates who are under house arrest since January 31 this year. The JuD chief has filed a plea in the LHC against his detention and the next hearing is scheduled for October 19.

During the last date of hearing on October 10, the Lahore High Court had warned the Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government, which had put Saeed under preventive detention, to submit evidence in the case otherwise it would release Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed, a UN and US designated global terrorist with a US bounty of $10 Million on his head, along with his four associates, was put under house arrest under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 of Pakistan after increasing pressure from the US and the international community.

The US, especially, warned that Pakistan would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would have made it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions. Then there was an additional pressure element from UN’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on terror funding which was reviewing Pakistan’s commitments.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest but it was always a reluctant move Pakistan’s actions prove, like it has always been in giving Hafiz Saeed a safe haven to operate.

Hafiz Saeed had adopted the name JuD after its terror outfit, Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that basically perpetrates terror in India, was banned by Pakistan on 14 January 2002 under international pressure after the UN Security Council’s Taliban-Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee banned LeT. However, it did not affect his activities, perpetrating terror and spewing venom against India including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed over 156 including six American citizens and left scores injured.

After his name surfaced in December 2001 Parliament attack, Pakistan was forced to arrest him but he was soon set free. His detention after the multiple train bombing in Mumbai in July 2006, that killed over 200, lasted only for few weeks. The same chores was repeated after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks when Pakistan refused to press terror charges and withdrew its appeal against Saeed and the global terrorist and India’s most wanted was again a free, respectable Pakistani citizen even if India had named Saeed, JuD and LeT as masterminds and perpetrators behind the attack and had submitted many dossiers containing evidence against them, something that was even recognized the UN and the US.

Even if, in December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. All these years, it has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free.

And it seems the same is going to be repeated again. Like after the Mumbai 2008 attacks, Pakistan, this time, too has refused to level terror charges against Saeed. On October 14, Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government withdrew terror charges against Saeed and instead applied for detention of Saeed and his associates till October 24 under the milder Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO). It was the fifth extension of Saeed’s house arrest since January 31.

Now if the judicial review board doesn’t get convinced by the arguments of the authorities on why to detain Saeed for so long in spite of no serious charges being pressed against him, Hafiz Saeed may walk free after his detention expires on October 24 as authorities need judicial approval before extending the period of the detention.

Pakistan’s complicity also becomes clear from the fact that though Pakistan first detained Saeed and others for 90 days under the Anti Terrorism Act but later on switched to toothless laws on maintaining public order.

And going by the tough observations of the Lahore High Court that mere press clippings cannot be the ground for detaining a citizen for an extended period of time and that Pakistan does not seem to have substantial evidence against Saeed, it will be just a matter of time before Saeed is free, respectable Pakistani citizen again.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

Reports emerging from Pakistan says Hafiz Saeed is under house arrest in Lahore and the police is raiding his terror front Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) facilities, that operate under the garb of charity. In a video clip circulating in Pakistan’s social media circles, Hafiz Saeed can be seen ranting against India, the US with his favourite Kashmir rant. In the clip he says to his supporters that today’s developments will take him further to his goals.

Earlier in the day, a Dunya News report, quoting Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Interior, had said that Pakistan would tomorrow spell out the course of action it is going to take against Hafiz Saeed and JuD. Nisar said JuD which was declared a terrorist outfit by the US last year and was under observation in Pakistan since 2010. According to the Dunya News report, Pakistan is going to take action against Jamaat in line with the UN requirements. Now that Hafiz Saeed has put been under house arrest and a crackdown on JuD facilities is going on, let’s see what Pakistan comes with tomorrow.

In December 2008, UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. India had named Hafiz Saeed, LeT and JuD as the perpetrators of the series of terrorists attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. Since then it has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free even if the US declared a bounty of $10 million on his head in 2012.

Let alone Hafiz Saeed, all other names including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the Mumbai attacks mastermind or Masood Azhar, the Pathakot airbase attack mastermind or many others on India’s most wanted list, alleged for perpetrating countless terror acts in India, are free and even respected names in Pakistan. When international pressure demands, Pakistan does the routine sham of shielding behind its judicial process that had set Hafiz Saeed free of all terrorism charges in 2009.

It is not the first time that reports from Pakistan on banning JuD have come out. This is a regular spectacle, as recent as November 2016. Every time Pakistan clarifies that JuD has not been banned and as per the UN requirements, is under observation.

But this time, the crackdown on JuD and Hafiz Saeed has come out after the US warning that Pakistan could be added to the list of the banned countries on the US immigration list. Donald Trump administration has put a ban on immigrants from seven Muslim majority nations that are ‘most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country’ – Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan. Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff, has said that countries like Pakistan that are ‘having problems similar to those seven nations’, can be added to the list in future.

That may have set alarms bells ringing in Pakistan. Though Pakistan, a habitual offender, backstabber and master of doublespeak when it comes to using terror as a policy tool, cannot be trusted, even if its Interior Minister says that action on JuD was pending, a sense of panic can be seen when we see Hafiz Saeed’s Twitter feed and his video clip.

As Twitter doesn’t allow designated terrorists like Hafiz Saeed on its platform and blocks their Twitter accounts, they keep on changing their Twitter handles. @HMSaeedOfficial is one of the Twitter handles being used by Hafiz Saeed. Saeed tweeted today from this account, “We knew this would happen when we declared 2017 the year of #Kashmir. If I am arrested, millions will continue to raise voice for #Kashmir.”

We knew this would happen when we declared 2017 the year of #Kashmir. If I am arrested, millions will continue to raise voice for #Kashmir
If we are banned for raising voice for Kashmir, then we don’t care about any such ban or restrictions.
The recent reports of JuD Ban are due to Indian pressure. In case of any such ban, we will go to courts for justice

This can well be a strategy to garner support and pressurize the Pakistan’s government to prevent from taking any strong measure against the terror mastermind or can be, again, an elaborate sham in collusion with the Pakistan’s ruling establishment and the ISI to show the world that Pakistan, at last, is going to crackdown on terror, especially after the US warning of putting it on the immigration ban list. And if it is happening so now, it can well be the first in the series of sham crackdowns.

The first option looks more likely that Saeed may be made a scapegoat (remember the US bounty on Saeed) as Saeed initially deleted his tweet from @HMSaeedOfficial page. But after some hours, he again posted it along with other tweets that show his fear of being banned. Blaming India for reports on JuD ban, he wrote that If they were banned for raising voice for Kashmir, then they didn’t care about any such ban or restrictions and they would approach the court.

To add to Hafiz Saeed’s fear, Pakistan’s The News today published a report, which says that the US has clearly told Pakistan to act against JuD after JuD’s name prominently figured in the latest report of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering or else Pakistan would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That will make it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it goes about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions.

This is an early January report, before Donald Trump’s took over as the US President and now that the most clear warning to Pakistan has come from Trump’s chief of staff, the writing looks clear on the wall for Pakistan. It is for Pakistan to decide which way it wants to go. Meanwhile, according the same The News report, Hafiz Saeed has adopted a new name for his outfit, Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir.



No one had thought it to be of this scale, but many sought it – with ‘customized reasons’ – and it was written – there was some intention to mobilize (galvanize) the opinion and to gain some good publicity (if not handsome, that ultimately came out to be) – but such a windfall was never expected.

It is a plot that was never conceived this way. It was a plot that had just some random scribbling in the name of script, and that too, by a veteran journalist (no more in active journalism and with political and ideological affiliations) who was perhaps on a self-motivated agenda of scoring some points, but had no ideas on where to pick from and where to end it.

It was a plot with some loose elements and some misplaced words that picked up pace in a stunning way, overshooting and over-surprising all.

It was all quiet. The person with the idea and some elements that he had collected to push the idea further were waiting for the takers.

And….there was lull for a long time – before a photograph tweeted by the journalist of his meeting with Hafiz Saeed, the dreaded terrorist and India’s most wanted for many terror attacks including the 26/11, set the ball rolling.

The wait was getting longer and he had to do something. And he did it in style the contours of which were not known to him when he began. He doesn’t know the elements of its evolution either. And he doesn’t have to bother about it. All that matters is he hit the right spot, stirring the beehive, which stung (almost) everyone.

What began as the seismic waves of a moderate scale quake soon became a full blown Tsunami scale spread.

And soon, everyone was staking the claim, adding his or her part in writing the script and in enriching the story.

Except the countable few, all were critical of him and the high pitch of it gained many more contributors to share inputs in developing the story the further. And it grew, like a wildfire, in an age when ‘any publicity is seen as good publicity, with blurred lines between good and bad’ He ruled the airwaves effectively. Whether it was overreaction or the natural news-flow that grew on its own can be debated and is being debated, but again, it is helping the person with the red jacket, by keeping him in news.

And in three days flat, a voluminous coverage was rolled out that is still hot. A name not much known outside the journalism fraternity has become widely known overnight.

He is basking in its glory now. What he has got in return is a return that no one could have expected. Even he could not have expected it – even in his wildest thoughts.

Yes, the move was an intended PR activity but its scope and scale evolved randomly and rapidly, in an uncontrolled way that ultimately came to the benefit of the person from where the idea had begun initially.

And he has a windfall to spend now.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/