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Quit Kashmir or prepare for war: Saeed warns India

February 05, 2011 22:19 IST

Jamaat-u-Dawah chief Hazif Muhammad Saeed on Saturday warned India to "quit" Jammu and Kashmir or be prepared for a "war" even as the extremist group organized protests at several places in Pakistan to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Addressing a rally of about 20,000 supporters on the Mall, one of the main thoroughfares of Lahore, Saeed said in a belligerent tone: "I want to give a message to (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh quit Kashmir or get ready to face a war".

As his supporters shouted slogans like "Kashmir hamara hai" (Kashmir is ours), "Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahay gi jang rahah gi" (The war will continue till the liberation of Kashmir) and "Bhartio Kashmir chor do" (Indians quit Kashmir), Saeed unveiled his vision for settling the Kashmir issue.

"If freedom is not given to the Kashmiris, then we will occupy the whole of India including Kashmir. We will launch Ghazwa-e-Hind (the battle for India). Our homework is complete to get Kashmir," he thundered.

Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba, claimed 800,000 Indian soldiers should be "held accountable" for alleged atrocities they were committing in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The Kashmir cause is heading towards a conclusion and this year is very important. As the United States is fleeing from Iraq and Afghanistan, we will get Kashmir this year," he claimed.

Saeed, who was put under house arrest for about six months in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT, claimed his organisation was not a "terrorist outfit".

"We are neither terrorists nor suicide bombers. We are only fighting for the freedom of Kashmir and till our objective is achieved, we will continue our jihad," he said.

Saeed claimed things had changed around the world. If people came out on the streets as they did in Egypt, the governments in India and Pakistan too would have to go, he said.

Alleging that India wanted to occupy Pakistan's Balochistan province with the help of the US, Saeed said his groups would not let this happen.

"We will save our country," he added. The JuD "believed in dialogue but had no trust in India", he said.

"India is destroying Pakistan's agricultural economy by building dams on our water," he added. Criticizing the Pakistan People's Party-led government, Saeed said, "On Indian-held Kashmir, the point of view of Pakistanis is similar to that of Kashmiris, but the Pakistani government is under pressure from India and other foreign masters".

He also criticized the UN, describing it as "slave to the US". Saeed claimed the Indian government "tried hard to implicate" the JuD in the Mumbai attacks but nothing had been proved against it and nothing would be because the organisation was "not involved" in the incident.

"After 9/11, our organisation was targeted and it was inflicted damage. (Former President Pervez) Musharraf hurt the Kashmir cause by proposing a third option," he claimed.

JuD deputy chief Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki and Jamaat-i-Islami secretary general Liaqat Baloch also addressed the gathering.

Saeed's remarks came a day ahead of talks between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of a SAARC meet in Bhutan to find ways to revive the peace process between the two countries.

India has linked the resumption of the peace process to Pakistan prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and winding up terrorist infrastructure on its soil.

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