Hafiz Saeed’s brother says action by Pakistan taken under India pressure
Action against 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan was taken after pressure from India, his brother and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Masood has said.
Masood said Saeed's house arrest at his Lahore residence and subsequent ban on the LeT front Jamaat-ud-Dawa has not affected its operation and it continues to function under the “supervision” of the Pakistani government.
"My brother is under house arrest and he will be kept under observation by the Pakistan government," Masood was quoted as saying by an Indian news channel.
"All this has been done under pressure from India and the Pakistan government has given in to the pressure. They (the Indian government) want to send a message to the world, to distract attention from problems in Kashmir, to focus on Hafiz Saeed and Pakistan, so that India's misdeeds are kept hidden. India wants to create a terrorism narrative."
Saeed was put under house arrest on January 30, days after the Donald Trump administration took charge in the US. Last weekend, Pakistan listed him under the country's Anti-Terrorism Act -- a tacit acknowledgment of his links to militancy.
Seeking to distance Jamaat-ud-Dawa from the terror activities of Lashkar, Masood said JuD was a humanitarian organization running schools and hospitals.
"We have nothing to do with Laskhar that is (operating in) Kashmir. It is indigenous and it is working there," he said in a telephonic interview with the news channel.
Despite his critcism of the Pakistan government for bowed down to the Indian pressure, Masood said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was "a peaceful man who is a friend of Kashmiris".
"Sharif has his own priorities. He has reached out to India in the hope of friendship. It is his strategy. He thinks issues will be solved through peace and friendship. But India has shown arrogance. India has seen Pakistan's gesture of peace as a sign of weakness," he said.
Masood said his organisation has been under pressure for a long time but there were no restrictions as such on the activities of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
"See, even then the United Nations has put sanctions against us. In Muridke (JuD headquarters near Lahore), the Punjab government is running it under its control. So the JuD has been under observation for long. So, we don't know what the next step is. We have not been told of any restrictions on our activities. But Hafiz has been put under house arrest to curb his support to the Kashmir issue."
Pakistan has listed Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
India has welcomed the action by Pakistan saying puting the LeT founder on terror list is the first logical step in bringing him to justice.
Welcoming the move, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said that it will help in getting rid of terrorism and violent extremism in India.
"Hafiz Saeed is an international terrorist, the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack and responsible for unleashing a wave of terror against Pakistan's neighbours through LeT/JuD and their affiliates," Vikas Swarup said.
"Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism," he added.