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Conviction of Hafiz Saeed by Asif Haroon Raja

Conviction of Hafiz Saeed

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Lahore under Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta convicted Hafiz Saeed on February 12 and jailed him for 11 years. His colleague Zafar Iqbal was also given 11 years jail term. 23 prosecution witnesses testified but none could provide any concrete evidence. The prosecutor maintained that Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) were two sides of the same coin and since LeT had been declared a proscribed organization vide UN resolution 1267 and put under sanctions, Pakistan being a member of the UN must take action. Despite the fact that the prosecution couldn’t prove the charge of terrorism, the two accused were declared guilty on account of being a member of a banned outfit, supporting and arranging meetings of a proscribed organization, illegal fundraising and buying properties from the raised funds. Besides Indian media, a segment of Pak media together with a handful of well-heeled liberals in Pakistan have been demonizing Hafiz Saeed and his JuD and presenting him an asset of the military establishment.   

Hafiz Saeed was the founder of LeT in the early 1990s, which was actively involved in armed Kashmiri freedom movement. Once LeT and some other Kashmir focused Jihadi groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) were banned by Gen Musharraf under pressure from India and USA in 2002/03, Hafiz Saeed detached himself from LeT and created an educational & charitable outfit at Muredke near Lahore, which he named JuD. His set-up is open to all and all activities are transparent. He, however remained on the radar of India as well as the USA.

Between 2001 and 2008, all terror attacks in India were put in the basket of Azhar Masood led JeM or LeT.  The latter was blamed for the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. India also accused ISI that it trained and backed LeT. Since then, India has been constantly pressing Pakistan to punish Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders. At the behest of India, the UN and the US declared him a global terrorist and put $10 million bounty as his head money.  

Hafiz Saeed was arrested by Pak authorities 8 times since 2011 and put on trial but the courts couldn’t find any trace of his involvement in Mumbai attacks and had to be released. Neither India could furnish any proofs. Whatever evidence it sent was too flimsy and insufficient to convict him, but India duly backed by USA clung to its stance. 

India couldn’t supply any proofs because Mumbai attacks were masterminded by RAW-Mossad combine in collusion with CIA with a view to undermine the sudden flare-up of unarmed movement in IOK in the summer of 2008, get ISI declared a rogue outfit and Pakistan a terror abetting state. To make it look real, India made hue and cry, suspended composite dialogue and conditioned recommencement of talks to the conviction of the so-called accused. The USA also kept pressing and advising Pakistan to punish the accused to ease tension, renew the process of composite dialogue to resolve of Kashmir dispute and to return to normalcy.   

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving accused was tried and hanged within the premises of jail without allowing Pakistani legal team or the Interpol to meet him. India’s claim that Kasab was a Pakistani hailing from village Faridkot was false. He had been kidnapped from Nepal by RAW sometime back and was put in a secret detention center for subsequent use.

The Mumbai drama was initially exposed by the officials of Indian Home Ministry led by Satish Sharma in 2011, who submitted affidavits in Indian Supreme Court asserting that the attacks were an in-house affair to achieve objectives against Pakistan. Fake Hindu saint Aseemanand undergoing the trial of Samjhota Express train blast in 2007 confessed that all the terror attacks in India were the handiwork of Indian terrorist group Abhinav led by Lt Col Purohit of which he was one of the members. Murdered Inspector Hemant Karkare had rounded up the gang and the case was under trial. He was murdered by unknown assassins on the night of 26 November 2008 in Mumbai and thereafter the case was closed and all the accused were set free. As if these revelations were not enough to expose India’s lies and its penchant for false flag operations, two books authored by Indian writers and one by German author spilt the beans.  

With so much incriminating material available, Pakistan was in a good position to put India on the mat and expose its ugly face. Unfortunately, PPP and PML-N governments opted to retain Pakistan’s traditional policy of appeasement. Instead of rebuking Indian bogus version, Indian narrative was agreed to. Several LeT leaders including Hafiz Saeed were arrested and put on trial. Apologetic and defensive stance emboldened India to continue whipping Pakistan under the charge of terrorism.

India under fascist Narendra Modi hardened its stance and stated that till such time Pakistan didn’t control terrorism, it will not talk on Kashmir. Modi forced Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in 2015 to exclude Kashmir from the agenda of future talks and to accord priority to the issue of terrorism. Pakistan’s meekness encouraged India, Afghanistan and USA to dub Pakistan a breeding ground and an epicentre of terrorism and most dangerous country in the world. These labels were given in spite of Pakistan security forces achieving remarkable results in fighting foreign-sponsored terrorist groups in FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and suffering the most.

Failing to suppress the liberation movement in IOK, India not only kept the Line of Control in Kashmir heated up but also broke all records of state terrorism and human rights against Kashmiris in IOK. Finding that Kashmir was slipping out of its hands, RAW conducted a false flag operation in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, which had three-fold objectives. To distract the attention of the world from its human rights abuses against Kashmiris and discredit freedom movement; secondly, to create the justification for a surgical strike inside Pakistan, and thirdly, to whip up anti-Pakistan emotions in India and enlarge the vote bank of BJP for elections in June.

Indian Mirage 2000s intruded in Balakot on February 24 last year under the pretext of taking revenge for Pulwama terror attack. The jets hurriedly released their bombs in a deserted place causing no damage or human casualty due to timely intervention of PAF jets. However, India claimed that it had destroyed a JeM camp. In reaction, PAF made a counter move on the night of 26 February by dropping missiles next to three sensitive targets inside IOK. Indian army chief Gen Bipin survived by the skin of his teeth. In the air duel, PAF pilots shot down one Su-30 and one MiG-21 and captured one pilot. India also lost one helicopter along with the crew due to its own firing. When India tried to strike 8 targets with Brahmo missiles on the night of 27th, Pakistan announced that it had marked 16 targets which took the air out of Modi’s jingoism. Smarting under series of humiliations, Modi ventured to make disputed IOK integral part of India on August 5, 2019, and is now threatening to annex AJK.         

Anguished over their failure to cow down Pakistan or to disable its nuclear program, the three strategic partners India, USA and Israel assisted by puppet regime in Kabul got further upset over the rapid progress made by CPEC. They see it as a dangerous monster capable of overturning their global ambitions. The trio is continuing with proxy war to bleed Pakistan and scuttle CPEC through random attacks. The 5th Generation Hybrid War was launched to create political destabilization, accentuate divisions in society, turn the youth against the army and spoil Pak-China relations.

Additionally, IMF and FATF were used as tools to meltdown Pakistan’s economy and to make it a compliant state. The IMF doled out $ 6 billion loans on stringent conditions forbidding it to use even a penny of the loan money on CPEC or to repay loans of China. The FATF after putting Pakistan in the grey list issued a long list of demands saying if these are not complied with, the country will be blacklisted. The list included the arrest and conviction of JeM head Azhar Masood, and Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders.

While India is leaving no stone unturned to put Pakistan in a blacklist, the US is quietly pulling the strings of FATF to keep Pakistan in the grey list for some more time. Alice Wells during her recent visit to Islamabad had admitted that the US would like to keep Pakistan under pressure through FATF till such time Pakistan agree to abide by its dictates.  She declared CPEC and friendship with China harmful for Pakistan.

The International Bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new economic and financial managers appointed on the choice of IMF carried out the heavy devaluation of the currency under the hope of boosting exports. They imposed heavy taxes, raised the prices of fuel, gas, and of daily commodities in order to generate revenues. These measures didn’t improve the health of the economy and made the lives of the people difficult. Desperate to uplift the sinking economy and to fulfil the promises made to the people, and to save from getting blacklisted, the cornered government hastened to arrest Hafiz Saeed.

After keeping him under detention for about six months, he was put on trial. The decision of the court was hailed by Alice Wells as well as Trump. India is also happy and sees it a triumph of its consistent efforts. India will now push for his trial on charges of attacks in Mumbai with a view to net ISI and Pakistan in the trap of terrorism.   

Making Hafiz Saeed a sacrificial goat just before the crucial meeting of FATF at Paris from 12-21 February in which Pakistan is hoping to get out of the grey list and become white go against principles and ethics.

For India, Hafiz Saeed has been a pain in the neck since he always raised his voice against Indian barbarities. As head of Difah Pakistan Council, he has been organizing big public meetings and rallies and has been a moving force behind the Kashmiri freedom struggle. His charity outfit Khidmat-e-Khalq provided immense assistance to the victims of natural calamities and was among the first to reach the stranded people caught in the devastating earthquake in AJK in 2005.  JuD has also been imparting free education to the poor and funds to the needy. He is held in high esteem among the Kashmiris living both sides of the divide and has a huge following in Pakistan.

His conviction has not been well received in J&K and by the majority of people in Pakistan particularly the Far Right. They view him as a philanthropist serving humanity, highly patriotic Pakistani and not a terrorist. They feel he has been jailed to please the USA and to mollify India. Already an impression is gaining currency that the government has betrayed the Kashmiris and that neither it is taking any action to provide relief to the marooned 8 million Kashmiris locked up in biggest open prison since August 5, nor it is allowing others to start a Jihad. Since Hafiz Saeed has never been convicted by courts on account of terrorism or funding terrorists, in all likelihood the decision of ATC if challenged might be overturned by Lahore High Court.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC and The Think Tank PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

       

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Anti-Muslim Aftermath of Modi’s Election Victory

Anti-Muslim Aftermath of Modi’s Election Victory

By

Sajjad Shaukat

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist party BJP had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans. Indian election-campaign against Islam, Muslims and Pakistan enabled BJP hardliner Modi to become Indian prime minister. Whereas, the Muslim community in India had felt alienated, frightened and perturbed, as most of them were also effectively disenfranchised.

 

Muslims were already aware of Modi’s agenda to reduce the Muslim community in India to second class citizens and had felt nervous and gloomy. Their anxiety was multiplying due to the fact that during the election campaign, the BJP was also speaking of Hindu deep-seated animosity against Pakistan and Pakistani public.

 

Hence, since Prime Minister Modi came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition outfits. 

 

In this regard, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of Muslims, assaults on Muslims, including their places of worships and property by the fanatic Hindu mobs, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, forced conversion of Muslims into Hindus and ban on beef and cow slaughter clearly showed that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist groups such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which is the genesis of Hindu terrorism.

 

Besides, continuing false flag operations, on Setember18, 2016, New Delhi staged the drama of the terror attack in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who targeted the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir. India created war-hysteria against Pakistan and started mobilization of troops near the LOC while claiming surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir. But, the myth of Indian so-called surgical strikes was exposed, as Indian top civil and military officers could not prove the strikes. Meanwhile, Indian forces also accelerated violations of the LoC by shelling Pakistani side of Kashmir, which still continues.

 

 

India’s Saffron Hindutva Terrorista

 

 

 

However, BJP played the same anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan card to gain votes of a majority of Hindus in the general elections 2019. Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans and ‘anti-Pakistan’ jargons, while the incessant and unjust Indian propaganda against Pakistan was beyond anybody’s cognition, which still keeps on going.

 

Notably, very tension escalated rapidly between New Delhi and Islamabad when on February 27, this year, in response to the Indian so-called pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK.

 

In the aftermath of the false flag terror attack at Pulwama, the truth about India’s surgical strikes unmasked, when Indian top civil and military leaders failed in providing any evidence.

 

The myth of Indian surgical strikes was further exposed, when, referring to the statement of Indian India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who admitted on April 18, 2019 that no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike carried out by IAF across the border in Balakot, Director General of Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor stated on April 19, 2019: “After India finally admitted that their so-called air strike carried on February 26 in Balakot caused no deaths and casualties…Hopefully, so will be about other false Indian claims [such as] surgical strike of 2016, denial of shooting down of two Indian Air Force [IAF] jets by Pakistan Air Force and claims about F16…Better late than never.”

 

Afterwards, journalists visited the targeted site of Balakot and Islamabad also released a video which exposed the false statements of New Delhi that IAF fighters targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants.

 

In fact, the false flag terror attack in the Pulwama district of the IOK, which killed at least 44 Indian soldiers, was election stunt of the BJP. Exploiting that episode, a wave of jingoism was created by the BJP-led fanatic parties against the Muslims and Pakistan to win the general elections 2019.

 

Therefore, as regards the elections 2019, on May 23, 2019, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 352 out of 542 Lok Sabha seats, with the BJP sweeping up 303 seats on its own—21 seats more than it won in the 2014 elections. Across most of North and Central India, BJP candidates also won with bigger vote shares and wider victory margins than in 2014.

 

Owing to the huge mandate of the BJP, violence has been let loose, with “Jai Shri Ram”–a slogan that roughly translates to “Hail Lord Ram”. As Modi was named as the leader of the NDA for a second time, minority communities especially Muslims have made to live in fear by the extremist Hindus.

 

In this respect, in the aftermath of the election results, news reports have highlighted different cases in which Dalits and particularly Muslims were violently targeted for reasons as varied as allegedly possessing beef, protesting against caste-based discrimination or simply being Muslim. Especially, various incidents of arrests and violent assaults on the Muslims by the Hindus have been recorded.

 

In an incident, a Santhali teacher in Jharkhand was arrested for a two-year-old Facebook post defending the right of Adivasi communities to eat beef.

 

In Begusarai district, where Hindutva hardliner Giriraj Singh won the 2019 Lok Sabha seat, a Muslim youth Mohammed Qasim was shot at by a Hindu Yadav on May 26 after his attacker discovered his religious identity.

 

25-year-old Mohammad Barkat from Gurugram in Haryana was accosted by a group of Hindus who ordered him to take off his skullcap. According to a report of “The Hindu”, the group of men abused Barkat and told him that skullcaps were not allowed in that area. When Barkat told them that he was returning from the mosque after prayers, one of the men slapped him. Barkat told ‘The Hindu’, “When I refused, he threatened to feed me pork…The men also beat me with a stick and tore my shirt before driving away on a motorbike.”

 

Tabrez Ansari, 22, was caught by a crowd in the BJP-ruled state of Jharkhand on suspicion of stealing a motorcycle on 18 June. He was tied to a tree and beaten within an inch of his life. And while he was being thrashed, the crowd established his religion–Muslim and then began the demands for “Jai Shri Ram”. Ansari was then arrested and taken into judicial custody. On June 23, he died in a local hospital after he complained that he felt unwell.

 

In the West Bengal, a 26-year-old Muslim teacher Hafeez Mohammad Shahrukh Haldar was attacked by a group of Hindus on June 24 and was pushed off a train in Kolkata for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

 

In the run-up to May’s general elections and after the results were declared, Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of Bengal, was constantly heckled by BJP mobs to shout, “Jai Shri Ram”.

 

Nevertheless, persecution of the Muslims continues unabated in India and the BJP-ruled central government has been largely silent in this regard.

 

In this connection, Hindu-Muslim communal tension flared up in Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi on July 1, this year after 3 or 4 Hindu boys, including 45-year-old Sanjeev Kumar Gupta tortured a Muslim boy Aas Mohammad (20) on alleged wrong parking of motorbike on night of June 30, 2019, outside his house next to the temple. Muslims of the area observed shutter down strike. During the protest, another scuffle took place between Hindus and Muslims, which resulted in increased tensions. A group of Muslims damaged two Mandirs in the area. However, no casualty took place.

 

India’s Central Reserve Police (CRPF) cordoned the areas of Darya Gunj, Pahar Gunj, Lal Kunwan, Jamia Masjid and Chandni Chowk with the unannounced curfew-like situation. New Delhi has ensured a complete black-out of the incident in print and electronic media.

 

According to India Today, “Politicians giving a communal spin to the incident: Sanjiv Kumar, man involved parking scuffle in Delhi, speaks to India Today…Reiterating that there was no intention to give the Hauz Qazi incident a communal colour…Politicians end up giving communal colour to everything. Whether it is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress or Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), there is no exception.”

 

It is notable that even foreign print and electronic media and analysts opined, “Modi’s election win is a victory for far-right Hindu nationalism…India’s secular democracy is under threat…BJP’s record in 2015-2019 has been divisive, to say the least. The party has marginalized religious minorities, especially Muslims, from public life with many, as a result, being lynched by Hindu nationalists in the name of cow protection…Jingoism and Islamophobia have propelled the BJP to an even stronger showing than in 2014. A Modi victory puts India’s 200 million Muslims in danger…Modi is part of the large Hindu supremacist family…In his home state of Odisha, he furthered India’s sectarian divide, pushed the idea of Hindu supremacy and with that, violence against Muslims, Christians and other minorities…Modi is radicalising Muslims.”

 

Undoubtedly, we can that the Constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious minorities, but in practice, the ideology of Hindutva prevails. Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the extremist Hindu parties have been propagating Hindutva agenda. After the election victory of the BJP and its coalition parties led by the fundamentalist Prime Minister Modi, Muslim anxiety in India is increasing owing to the fact that like the previous elections, during the election-campaign of 2019, Hindu majority was mobilized on the anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim slogans. 

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: The US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              

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