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Hafiz Saeed, his son and the terror agenda
  • Talha Saeed
    Talha Saeed
The United States on December 28 added the student wing of the Pakistan-based militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba to its list of `foreign terrorist organizations.` The State Department's move against the student group, Al-Muhammadia Students, came as the Treasury Department added seven Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders to the U.S. list of `specially designated global terrorists`. Among them, Thala Saeed, the son of notorious Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, who was closely allied with Osama bin Laden, has long been linked to terrorist activities in Pakistan, India, and the US. In December 2008, the Indian government demanded that Talha be extradited by the Pakistani government, and accused him of managing Lashkar-e-Taiba’s operations at the terror group’s main camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Useless to say he is still free, like his father who's allowed to give speeches all over Pakistan. In fact, in the past month, the founder of LeT has been particularly active. Every time a new General takes over as the chief of Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed makes it a point to make a loud and boisterous call for Kashmir Jihad. This has been his trademark way of setting the agenda for Pakistan Army chief: to remain relevant to the new bosses in Rawalpindi and make sure that his business of jihad continues as ever. It is too early to say that how the new chief of army staff, General Qamar Bajwa, would deal with the army’s traditional allies like Saeed, leader of a global terrorist group. But Saeed is letting it known that he is very much available for hire. Saeed was obviously very close to Bajwa’s predecessor, Raheel Sharif, who kept terrorist leaders like him and Azhar Masood, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, good humoured and safe from all the anti-terrorist operations he boasted of launching and winning. If the new chief were to even reflect a moment, he would realise that the terrorist groups are the army’s proxy but they are not really friends of the country they profess to represent. In fact, if Pakistan has any enemy today, it is within. It is these groups like LeT and JeM and their leaders like Saeed who keep the populace misled, brainwashed and violent. Pay attention to what this terrorist leader said at a rally in Muzaffarabad recently. He ranted on everything, from surgical strikes to the Indian Prime Minister and his country’s national security advisor Sartaz Aziz and then capped it with saying that jihad was the only solution to his country’s peace and progress. Saeed was flanked by Syed Salahuddin, another terrorist and Fazlur Rahman Khalil, an old hand at terrorist acts. Pakistan should stop, and is an old story, to deal with 'good terrorists' considering them an asset and refusing to jail people like Hafiz Saeed or the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed Mansoor Azhar. No one in Pakistan wants a country which is looked at with deep suspicion. Pakistan and its leaders, including the new Army chief, must do well recognise this simple but hard reality—persons like Hafiz Saeed are the real enemies of the people of Pakistan and they must be treated as such.