Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the terrorism suspect, has been arrested before and then released. Deep Dive with Abhinav Khare unearths details to find out if this was another superficial tactic to placate the United States and others?
“Arrest. Free. Repeat,” Taha Siddiqui, who is a Pakistani journalist living in exile, wrote on Twitter.
This exactly sums up the essence of Pakistan’s arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Saeed is the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai blasts. Many believe that this arrest is merely an eyewash to please America just ahead of Imran Khan’s meeting with Donal Trump. Pakistan even opened up its airspace which was closed since Balakot Airstrikes. Imran Khan’s policy of appeasement became way too evident now.
Saeed was arrested for financing terrorism as he was found donating land to two charities who were involved in financing Lashkar-e-Taiba. Saeed, who is the architect of the November 26th Mumbai Attack which claimed 166 lives, has been wanted by India ever since. In fact, in 2012, the United States of America also placed a 10 million dollars’ bounty on his head for the death of 6 Americans in the 2008 attacks. Although, he is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, he presently claims to just be the head of Jamaat-udDawa and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation. He later renamed JuD to Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir to create a façade that it just operates outside Pakistan and it is solely focussed on the “freedom struggle” of Kashmir.
After the 2008 attacks, India and America had furnished colossal evidences to prove that LeT was behind it. Pakistani raided their camps in Muzaffarabad, POK and arrested 13 people including Operations Chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Lakhvi was released a year later and many say that their jail term was more of a luxury stay. His connections with David Headley are known to all. Despite there being evidences against both, nothing could ever be done to them.
Kasab had also testified against Saeed. He had initially said that Saeed was personally involved in training and selection of terrorists. However, he later withdrew his statement claiming that it was forced. Saeed has also openly claimed of conducting Jihad all over India and liberating Kashmir.
Ever since Donald Trump assumed the office of the President, Pakistan and USA have not exactly remained “Friends”. Trump has often accused Pakistan for not taking any actions against the breeding terrorism on its land and had suspended the 300-million-dollar military aid to Pakistan in 2018. Pakistan is also on the “Grey List” of the Financial Action Task Force since 2018.
Saeed’s arrest is nothing new to India. What India expects is a concrete anti-terrorism policy to be adopted by Pakistan. This not just requires political courage but also the cooperation of the Pakistan Army and ISI who have been closely linked to LeT. Whether the arrest of Saeed is a paradigm shift from “State Sponsored Terrorism” or not is what India needs to Wait and Watch.
Last Updated 3:39 PM IST