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.”