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Is JuD chief Hafiz Saeed joining Pak politics?

Last updated on: February 4, 2012 01:02 IST

Is JuD chief Hafiz Saeed joining Pak politics?

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

The Indian government sees the hand of Pakistan army behind possibility of popping up, on the political platform, of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, which is considered the front of terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Sheela Bhatt reports.

Saeed is the prime accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. There is speculation in Pakistan that he may turn Jamaat into the political platform and he himself may contest elections for the Punjab Assembly or the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.

Reacting to the news, a senior source in Indian government said that Pakistan army is backing Saeed. The source said, "The Army is trying hard to feel up the vacuum created by the weak civilian government. Hafiz stays in the Army's guest houses, he is protected by Army commandos."

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Image: Hafiz Saeed


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Is JuD chief Hafiz Saeed joining Pak politics?

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He said since the Pakistan Army is not in a position to stage the coup in President Pervez Musharaf style it is backing such elements to fill up the civilian space.

Pakistan army is currently playing a similar role just as former President General Zai Ul Haq played to hit Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

 Saeed, a fugitive, is in India's list of the 50 most-wanted. He is a declared terrorist and is notorious for his anti-India speeches.

When asked if the Indian government will deal with Saeed if he becomes the civilian leader, the source said that whether India deals with him or not is an issue "a long way down the road." He added, "Even Pakistanis will find it difficult to deal with his political entry."

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Image: Pakistan's military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq


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He reminded that even Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman, president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal was accepted and invited by the Vajpayee government only after he clarified sensitive issues and spoke about peace. Before and after his arrival in India, Fazlur had said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue as envisaged under the Shimla Agreement.

However, the officer did not attach much importance to the latest news of Saeed's possible political plans. The officer also dismissed hype around former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's political rise as well.

He said, "Give me a break! Imran Khan will be as big as the Pakistan army wants him to be." He said in Pakistan, the tension among the Army, the civilian government and the Judiciary has increased.

"Imran Khan-kind of leaders are having their run in the vacuum left by the current civilian and military establishment," he concluded.


Image: Former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan


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