NEW DELHI: Pakistan detained Hafiz Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and a US-designated terrorist, after pressure from India, his brother and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Masood has said.
Masood also said Saeed’s house arrest at his Lahore residence and subsequent ban on the LeT front Jamaat-ud-Dawa has not affected the proscribed charity that continued to function under the “supervision” of Punjab government in Pakistan.
“My brother is under house arrest and he will be kept under observation by the Pakistan government,” Masood was quoted by CNN-News18 news channel as saying.
“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.
Masood said the Jamaat-ud-Dawa had nothing to do with militant activities in Kashmir as that the charity was a humanitarian organisation 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.”