Posts Tagged ‘Jamaat-ud-Dawa’

Pakistan plans takeover of charities run by Islamist figure U.S. has targeted

January 2, 2018


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s government plans to seize control of charities and financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who Washington has designated a terrorist, according to officials and documents reviewed by Reuters.

Pakistan’s civilian government detailed its plans in a secret order to various provincial and federal government departments on Dec. 19, three officials who attended one of several high-level meeting discussing the crackdown told Reuters.

Marked “secret”, a Dec. 19 document from the finance ministry directed law enforcement and governments in Pakistan’s five provinces to submit an action plan by Dec. 28 for a “takeover” of Saeed’s two charities, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.

The United States has labeled JuD and FIF “terrorist fronts” for Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure” or LeT), a group Saeed founded in 1987 and which Washington and India blame for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

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Hafiz Saeed. AP photo

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks and a Pakistani court saw insufficient evidence to convict him. The LeT could not be reached for comment.

The Dec. 19 document, which refers to “Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issues”, names only Saeed’s two charities and “actions to be taken” against them.

The FATF, an international body that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, has warned Pakistan it faces inclusion on a watch list for failing to crack down on financing terrorism.

Asked about a crackdown on JuD and FIF, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who co-chaired one of the meetings on the plan, responded only generally, saying he has ordered authorities “to choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan”.

In a written reply to Reuters, he also said Pakistan wasn’t taking action under U.S. pressure. “We’re not pleasing anyone. We’re working as a responsible nation to fulfill our obligations to our people and international community.”

In response to the Reuters article, JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said the organization will go to court if the government decides to take over JuD and FIF.

“We will not keep silent. We will fight a legal battle,” Mujahid said in statement, terming the government move illegal.

Saeed could not be reached for comment. He has frequently denied having ties to militants and says the charitable organizations he founded and controls have no terrorism ties. He says he promotes an Islamic-oriented government through doing good works.

On Monday, some of the first directives from the proposed crackdown were put in place.

The country’s financial regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), issued an order that “prohibits” all companies from donating money to Saeed, LeT, JuD, FiF and other groups and individuals who are named on the U.N. Security Council sanctions lists.

In the capital Islamabad, the district magistrate banned proscribed organizations from “fund-raising in any kind and social, political, welfare and religious activities by these groups”, according to an order reviewed by Reuters.

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FILE PHOTO: Hafiz Saeed is showered with flower petals as he walks to court before a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo

The two-month ban, which can be extended, was put into place “to curb the terrorist acts and assistance activities carried out by the proscribed organizations and their subsidiary welfare wings,” the document said.


If the government follows through with the plan, it would mark the first time Pakistan has made a major move against Saeed’s network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. The JuD and FIF alone have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers, according to two counter-terrorism officials.

Participants at the meeting raised the possibility that the government’s failure to act against the charities could lead to U.N. sanctions, one of the three officials said. A U.N. Security Council team is due to visit Pakistan in late January to review progress against U.N.-designated “terrorist” groups.

Hafiz Saeed (C) reacts to supporters as he walks out of court after a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

“Any adverse comments or action suggested by the team can have far-reaching implications for Pakistan,” the official said.

The Dec. 19 document gave few details about how the state would take over Saeed’s charities, pending the plans submitted from the provincial governments. It did say it would involve government entities taking over ambulance services and accounting for other vehicles used by the charities.

It says law enforcement agencies will coordinate with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to identify the assets of the two charities and examine how they raise money.

The document also directs that the name of JuD’s 200-acre headquarters, Markaz-e-Taiba, near the eastern city of Lahore be changed to something else ”to make it known that the Government of “Punjab (province) solely manages and operates the Markaz(headquarters)”.

The move to seize the charities could spark some concern from the powerful military, which has proposed plans to steer Saeed and the JuD into mainstream politics. The military did not respond to a request for comment.

In August, JuD officials formed a new political party, the Milli Muslim League, and backed candidates who fared relatively strongly in two key parliamentary by-elections.

The JuD publicly disavows armed militancy inside Pakistan, but offers vocal support for the cause of rebel fighters in Indian-administered Kashmir and has called for Pakistan to retake Kashmir. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the disputed region.

Washington, which has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed’s conviction over the Mumbai attacks, warned Islamabad of repercussions after a Pakistani court in late November released him from house arrest.

Punjab’s provincial government had put Saeed under house arrest for 10 months this year for violating anti-terrorism laws.

Writing on Twitter on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States has “foolishly” handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while getting nothing in return and pledged to put a stop to it.


Palestinians recall envoy after rally with radical Pakistan cleric

December 31, 2017

Hafiz Saeed, the head of the hard-line Jamaat-ud-Dawa movement, addresses an anti-US and Israel an earlier rally in Lahore on December 17. (AFP)
ISLAMABAD: The Palestinians have withdrawn their envoy to Pakistan after he appeared at a rally with a radical cleric linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Palestinian envoy Walid Abu Ali shared the stage with Hafiz Saeed, the head of the hard-line Jamaat-ud-Dawa movement, at Friday’s rally, which was held to protest US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The rally in Rawalpindi, attended by thousands, was organized by the Defense of Pakistan Council, an alliance of religious parties dominated by Saeed’s group. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for Lashker-e-Taiba, a militant group that fights Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, and which was blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.
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Palestine ambassador to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali (L), seated next to Hafiz Saeed at a rally in Rawalpindi. (Photo via Twitter)
Saeed, the founder of Lashker-e-Taiba, is wanted by the US, which has offered a $10 million reward for his arrest, but Pakistan has refused extradition requests and allows him to operate relatively freely. He was recently placed under house arrest for 11 months but was released after a court ruled in his favor.
Saeed denies involvement in the 2008 attacks, and Pakistan says India has not provided enough evidence to charge him. US officials have long accused Pakistan of harboring extremists, allegations denied by Islamabad.
In a statement Saturday addressed to India, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the envoy’s participation “in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism” was “an unintended mistake, but not justified.” It said the envoy has been recalled.
India had lodged a protest with the Palestinians earlier Saturday, calling the envoy’s association with Saeed “unacceptable.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, saying it welcomed his “active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.”
Near-daily rallies have been held in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month, a move seen as siding with the Jewish state against the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Who are the “anti-blasphemy” Islamists wielding new political influence in Pakistan?

December 3, 2017

The public perception after the crackdown against protestors is overwhelmingly anti-PML(N), while the Pakistan military has gained more sympathy for refusing the act against them. The stage has now been set for the PML(N) exit in the elections next year

Written by Umer Ali | Updated: December 1, 2017 10:43 am

pakistan, pakistan protests, pakistan blasphemy laws, pakistan protests blasphemy laws, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool-ullah, pakistan news, indian express, indian express news

Members of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan far right Islamist political party shout slogans during a sit-in in Rawalpindi, Pakistan November 10, 2017. Reuters

The last three weeks have laid bare Pakistan’s claims of countering extremist ideology, both militarily and ideologically. The state shut down social media websites and TV channels in order to counter protesting supporters of the newly-formed religious party, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool-ullah around Islamabad, and ordered the deployment of troops to restore order. But as a clear sign of insubordination, the military instead objected to the way the protest was handled.

It is important to explore the genesis of TLYP – a group of Barelvi religious organizations behind these protests. For decades, the Deobandi-Salafist groups championed the cause of violent jihad in Pakistan, while the Barelvi groups mostly remained apolitical and non-violent. However, unlike the common belief that only Deobandi-Salafist groups apostatize other sects, Barelvi literature is also rich with fatwas against the followers of other Islamic sects. One reason why Barelvi groups weren’t radicalized during the Afghan jihad is because the Saudi funding to fight the Soviet Union was directed towards Deobandi and Salafist groups due to their ideological affinity. However, over the past few years, Barelvi groups have gained significant political influence and street power.

Barelvi (Urduبَریلوِی‎, BarēlwīUrdu pronunciation: [bəreːlʋi]) is a term used for the movement following the SunniHanafi school of jurisprudence, originating in Bareilly with over 200 million followers in South Asia.[1] The name derives from the north Indian town of Bareilly, the hometown of its founder and main leader Ahmed Raza Khan (1856–1921).[2][3][4][5][6] Although Barelvi is the commonly used term in the media and academia, the followers of the movement often prefer to be known by the title of Ahle Sunnat wa Jama’at, (Urduاہل سنت وجماعت‎) or as Sunnis, a reference to their perception as forming an international majority movement.

Since then, Qadri, a Barelvi himself, became the poster boy for Barelvi religious groups. They now champion the ishq-i-rasool (love for the prophet), and remain at the forefront of anti-blasphemy campaigning in Pakistan. The much-needed catalyst to bring their followers on the streets was the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri to death. TLYP was born out of the protests against Qadri’s death. The current leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi gained fame through his fiery speeches against the government.

Unlike the several militant outfits which turned on the military after Pakistan decided to aid the United States’ war on terror in Afghanistan, TLYP focuses its criticism on the civilian government, and not the military. Unlike the Deobandis and Salafis, experts say, Barelvi leaders pose as pro-army and pro-state, who want themselves affiliated with the army, thus giving an impression that everything they are doing is lawful.

This stands true in the current fiasco as well, when General Qamar Bajwa reportedly refused to deploy the military to disperse the protestors, saying “they are our people”. Now that a deal has been struck between the government and the protestors with the arbitration of an ISI Major General, and Law minister Zahid Hamid has resigned, several questions arise: why did an ISI General act as an arbitrator between the government and protestors? If the government was willing to accept the protestors’ demand, why wait for three weeks? Perhaps, the military pressurized the government to accept the protestors’ demands.

The deal itself has been subject to severe criticism by various quarters, with leading commentators describing it as “surrender”. Unfortunately, such deals were struck with the likes of TTP leaders Mullah Fazlullah in Swat and Nek Muhammad in Waziristan, but ultimately, the state had to launch military operations against them.

If one was to learn from those experiences, accepting the demands of an outlawed group is acknowledging them as stakeholders, which only worsens the situation. With this deal as well, the government conformed to the outrageous demands of a small group of protestors – setting another very bad precedent.

Now that someone’s faith is subject to suspicion by a mob, it is clear the mob won’t stop with Zahid Hamid. According to some reports, Punjab Law minister Rana Sanaullah needs to testify his belief in the finality of Prophethood in front of some clerics. If this continues, no one even with a slightly dissenting opinion will be able to live peacefully in Pakistan.

However, there is another important factor to be considered. The military in Pakistan has a history of using religious groups to further their agenda. Currently, the establishment is working hard to destroy the PML(N) votebank ahead of the 2018 general elections. What better way to do so but pitting Barelvism – a large part of the Pakistani population adheres to this school of thought – against the PML(N) ?

The signs have been there. In the recent by-elections for the National Assembly seat vacated by the disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, TLYP received more than 7,000 votes, while the Milli Muslim League – a political front of the banned LeT (or JuD) – received more than 5,500 votes. Both parties built their campaigns based solely on anti-PML(N) rhetoric.

One reason the military establishment is now relying on Barelvi groups is because the previous “assets” have now become a liability. Pakistan faces continuous pressure from the international community for not acting against terror groups like Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or its previous incarnation, the Lashkar-e-Toiba. By using the Barelvi groups, over an issue as sensitive as blasphemy, the military establishment might be preparing alternative assets to be deployed against their political rivals in Pakistan. The public perception after the government crackdown against protestors is overwhelmingly anti-PML(N), while the Pakistan military has gained more sympathy for refusing the act against them. Pakistan’s ultra-conservative population believe they were fighting for a noble cause.

The stage has now been set for the PML(N) exit in the elections next year, but at a hefty cost. A dangerous precedent has been set, and the majority Muslim sect has been weaponized. History is repeating itself in Pakistan.

Umer Ali is an award-winning Pakistani journalist who has reported extensively on terrorism, blasphemy, and human rights. He tweets @iamumer1

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Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan an Islamist political party, attends Friday prayers during a sit-in in Rawalpindi, Pakistan November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood Reuters

Freed Pakistani Islamist Mastermind of the Bloody 2008 Assault on Mumbai, Starts New Freedom With Verbal Attacks on India, Pakistan’s Former PM

November 25, 2017


LAHORE/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A newly freed Pakistani Islamist accused of masterminding a bloody 2008 assault in the Indian city of Mumbai called ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a “traitor” on Friday for seeking peace with neighbor and arch-foe India.

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Hafiz Saeed speaks with supporters after attending Friday Prayers in Lahore, Pakistan November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

The release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest raised fresh questions as to whether Saeed might enter politics to run a new, unregistered political party founded by his supporters.


India and the United States expressed concern at his release, calling for Saeed to be prosecuted over the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including Americans.

Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, spoke at Friday prayers in a mosque in the city of Lahore after being freed from house arrest by a court that said there was no evidence to hold him.

Saeed was placed under house arrest in January while Sharif was still prime minister, a move that drew praise from India, long furious at Saeed’s continued freedom in Pakistan.

In July, a Supreme Court ruling disqualified Sharif from office over a corruption investigation, though his party still runs the government with a close ally as prime minister.

Saeed, however, said Sharif deserved to be removed for his peace overtures with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted? I tell him he was ousted, because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with Modi, killers of thousands of Muslims,” Saeed said.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs condemned Saeed’s release, saying it showed Pakistan was not serious about prosecuting terrorists.

A U.S. official said Washington was “deeply concerned” about the release.

“The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.


Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai violence in which 10 gunmen attacked targets in India’s largest city, including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a railway station.

The assault brought nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

“I’m happy that no allegation against me was proved,” Saeed told supporters after his release, according to a video released by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Islamist charity, which he heads.

The United States says the JuD is a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, which Saeed founded and which has been blamed for a string of high-profile attacks in India.

Pakistan officially banned the Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002.

Saeed blamed India for his incarceration in Pakistan, saying “Pakistan’s rulers detained me on the aspiration of Modi because of their friendship with him”.

Saeed has long campaigned in support of Muslim separatists in the Indian-ruled portion of the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which Pakistan also claims.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting the LeT and other separatists battling in the Indian part of Kashmir. Pakistan denies that.

While Saeed was under house arrest, his JuD charity launched a political party, the Milli Muslim League (MML), which has won thousands of votes in by-elections.

Senior government and retired military figures say the party has the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military. The military denies any direct involvement in civilian politics.

MML officials have privately said that the party is controlled by Saeed, but it is not clear if Saeed will seek to contest elections or launch a political career.

US ‘deeply concerned’ as Pakistan frees Mumbai attacks suspect

November 24, 2017


© AFP | Firebrand cleric Hafiz Saeed — one of the suspected masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks — met with supporters in Lahore Friday after his midnight release

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The US said it was “deeply concerned” Friday after Pakistan freed one of the suspected masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks despite months of pressure from Washington over militancy.

The statement came as firebrand cleric Hafiz Saeed, who heads the UN-listed terrorist group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and has a $10 million US bounty on his head, led prayers and met with supporters in Lahore Friday after his midnight release.

JuD, which has operated freely across Pakistan and is popular for its charity work, is considered by the US and India to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed for the attack on India’s financial capital.

“LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens,” US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said.

“The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.”

The $10 million bounty for Saeed first offered in 2012 still stands, Nauert added.

The court’s decision to release Saeed after Islamabad failed to provide evidence against him came after US President Donald Trump in August angrily accused Pakistan of harbouring “agents of chaos” and called for a militant crackdown.

The horror of the Mumbai carnage played out on live television around the world as commandos battled the heavily armed gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26, 2008.

It took the authorities three days to regain full control of the city, and the attacks, which killed more than 160 people, nearly brought nuclear-armed arch-enemies India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Saeed, already designated a global terrorist by the US at the time, was later listed as one by the UN also over his alleged role in the attacks.

India expressed its fury at his freedom Thursday, with foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar accusing Pakistan of attempting to “mainstream proscribed terrorists”.

New Delhi has long seethed at Pakistan’s failure either to hand over or prosecute those accused of planning the attacks, while Islamabad has alleged that India failed to give it crucial evidence.

It is the third time that the cleric has been released by courts after Islamabad briefly detained him twice in the aftermath of the attacks in November 2008.

Saeed for decades has publicly espoused ending India’s rule of the disputed Himalayan Kashmir region, with India accusing him of sending armed militants to the valley.

India and Pakistan, who rule parts of the disputed region, have fought two of their three wars over the territory, with scores of militant groups, including LeT, engaged in a decades-old armed insurgency against the Indian rule.

Pakistan releases militant blamed for 2008 Mumbai attacks

November 24, 2017


© Arif Ali, AFP | Pakistan head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) organisation Hafiz Saeed waves to supporters as he leaves a court in Lahore on November 21, 2017.


Latest update : 2017-11-24

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order released a US-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 168 people, his spokesman and officials said.

Hafiz Saeed, who has been designated a terrorist by the US Justice Department and has a $10 million bounty on his head, was released before dawn after the court this week ended his detention in the eastern city of Lahore.

The move outraged Indian authorities, but Saeed’s spokesman Yahya Mujahid confirmed his release, calling it a “victory of truth.”

“Hafiz Saeed was under house arrest on baseless allegations and jail officials came to his home last night and told him that he is now free,” he said.

Saeed ran the Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization, widely believed to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, which India believes was behind the deadly attack in Mumbai.

Pakistan has been detaining and freeing Saeed off and on since the attack and he and four of his aides were put under house arrest in Lahore in January. His release came after a three-judge panel dismissed the government’s plea to continue his house arrest, which ended Thursday. His aides had been released earlier.

Saeed is known for publicly supporting militant groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both. Many in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan and violence has increased in Indian-controlled Kashmir in recent years.

In recent years Saeed often addressed protest rallies, asking the world community to pressure India to give the right of self-determination to the people in Kashmir.

Saeed’s release angered neighboring India, which for years has asked Pakistan to take action against all those linked to the Mumbai attack. It is widely believed that Pakistan has long tolerated banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Islamic militant groups.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar in a statement expressed outrage that a “self-confessed and UN proscribed terrorist was being allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda.”

“He was not only the Mastermind, he was the prime organizer of the Mumbai Terror Attacks in which many innocent Indians and many people from other nationalities were killed,” the statement said.

Kumar said Saeed’s “release confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistani government in bringing to justice perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism.”

India has said it has evidence that Saeed was involved in the Mumbai attack, but Islamabad has long said sufficient evidence is not available to charge him. India claims the attackers were in contact with people in Pakistan when the assault was underway.

Relations between Pakistan and India were strained after the attack on India’s financial hub.

Pakistan often says India is violating human rights in Kashmir, where security forces have killed or wounded dozens of protesters at anti-India rallies in recent months.



Pakistan says ‘Foreign Spy Agency’ planning to kill mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed

November 12, 2017
Omer Farooq Khan| TNN | Updated: Nov 12, 2017, 10:25 IST


  • Pakistani authorities have claimed that a plan was hatched by a “foreign spy agency” to kill Hafiz Saeed through members of a banned militant outfit.
  • This was a veiled reference to India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
  • Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority said the foreign spy agency had paid Rs 80 million to two activists for the assassination of Saeed.

Hafiz Saeed. (AP file photo)

Hafiz Saeed. (AP file photo)
ISLAMABAD: In a veiled reference to India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Pakistani authorities responsible for countering terrorism have asked the home department of the Punjab province to beef up security for the detained mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed, claiming that a plan was hatched by a “foreign spy agency” to kill him through members of a banned militant outfit.

Saeed is currently being kept at his residence+ , 116-E, in Johar town, Lahore.

According to official sources, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA), Pakistan’s internal counter-terrorism authority, has sent a letter to Lahore-based home department of Punjab, claiming that a “foreign spy agency” had paid Rs 80 million to two activists of a proscribed militant group to kill Saeed.

NCTA was formed in 2009 and has been mandated to devise a counter-terrorism strategy to address short, medium and long-term goals for security challenges faced by Pakistan besides plans for their implementation.

It asked the home department to ensure strict security measures in the surroundings of Saeed’s Lahore residence, which has been declared a prison for him by the Punjab’s government.

Saeed was put under house arrest earlier this year. His banned outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a front for terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had launched the Milli Muslim League this year in August, but the Election Commission of Pakistan had rejected to register it as a political party.


In 2012, the US had announced a $10 million bounty for information leading to Saeed’s arrest+ and conviction. Following his arrest, the JuD had started its activities under the banner of Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu & Kashmir, but last July it was also declared a banned outfit and was added to the list of proscribed organisations by the home ministry.

Militant Group Jamaat-Ud-Dawa Launches New Party in Pakistan to Make Pakistan “A Real Islamic and Welfare State”

August 7, 2017

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s banned militant group Jamaat-ud-Dawa is seeking to enter the political sphere by launching a new party.

Saifullah Khalid, a religious scholar and longtime official of the group, is president of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League party. He told reporters in Islamabad Monday that his party will work to make Pakistan “a real Islamic and welfare state” and that it’s ready to cooperate with like-minded parties.

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Saifullah Khalid, a religious scholar and longtime official of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Photo: Anjum Naveed, AP

The U.S. has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of JuD’s founder Hafiz Saeed. Pakistan placed him under house arrest earlier this year.

The JuD widely is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind the 2008 deadly attacks in Mumbai, India.

Pakistan accuses India of “unprovoked and naked aggression”after attack — India accuses Pakistan of supporting Islamist militants who target India

September 29, 2016

India’s army says it has carried out strikes on terrorist bases across the country’s de facto border with Pakistan.

An Indian army soldier stands guard near the site of a gun battle between Indian army soldiers and rebels inside an army brigade headquarters near the border with Pakistan, known as the Line of Control (LoC), in Uri on September 18, 2016.

Relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated in recent months. AFP photo

The Wall Street Journal
Updated Sept. 29, 2016 11:53 a.m. ET

NEW DELHI—India’s army said Thursday it had carried out overnight “surgical strikes” on what it described as terrorist bases across the country’s de facto border with Pakistan, a move likely to heighten already soaring tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

In a news conference, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, India’s director general of military operations, said “significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued a statement condemning what he called “unprovoked and naked aggression” by India, whose actions he said resulted in the deaths of two Pakistani soldiers.


Indian military and government officials said Indian forces had crossed the line of control that separates the Indian- and Pakistani-governed parts of Kashmir to hit militant camps. Both countries claim the disputed region in full.

Pakistan’s military denied there had been any intrusion from India, saying Indian troops had fired from their side of the frontier. Pakistan’s army said it responded “strongly and befittingly.”

The strikes followed a militant assault on an Indian army installation earlier in September that killed 18 soldiers. India blamed Pakistan for that attack, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said wouldn’t go “unpunished.”

This file photograph taken on December 4, 2003, shows Indian soldiers as they patrol along a barbed-wire fence near Baras Post on the Line of Control (LoC) between Pakistan and India some 174 kms north west of Srinagar.

Image copyright AFP

“Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that so

Sporadic cross-border firing isn’t unusual between the estranged neighbors, but raids by the countries’ armed forces are rare. A senior Indian official said this was the first time India had publicly acknowledged carrying out such a strike. Both India and Pakistan are believed to have covertly undertaken similar operations in the past.

Girding for possible retaliation, Indian authorities ordered the evacuation of villages along the frontier with Pakistan. Gen. Singh said the military was “prepared for any contingency that may arise.”

India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars since independence from Britain in 1947, three of them over Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of supporting Islamist militants who target India, something Islamabad denies. Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008.
The most recent conflict involving security forces of the two sides was in 1999, when troops clashed in the mountains of Kashmir.

Mr. Modi has pledged a more muscular approach to dealing with terror and other security threats. Last year, Indian special forces carried out strikes in neighboring Myanmar against militants it blamed for attacks on Indian security personnel in the country’s northeast.
“This is unprecedented. It is a message to Pakistan that the paradigms of the past are no longer valid,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the New Delhi-based South Asia Terrorism Portal. Still, he said, he thought New Delhi had stopped short of actions that would provoke escalation from Pakistan.

Relations between the two have been strained for months as unrest has gripped the Indian-governed part of Kashmir. Islamabad has criticized India’s use of force against antigovernment demonstrators. India accuses Pakistan of stoking the protests and the violence.

The senior Indian official accused Pakistan of trying to increase militant forays into India to capitalize on the turmoil in Kashmir and further destabilize the region. Islamabad denies it has any connection to militancy in Kashmir.

Since the militant attack on the Indian army base on Sept. 18, India has stepped up diplomatic pressure to isolate Pakistan. New Delhi and three other South Asian countries said this week that they would boycott a regional summit set to be held in Islamabad in November.

Smoke rose from an Indian Army base which was attacked in Uri, west of Srinagar in Indian Kashmir, on Sept. 18. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the terror attack that killed 18 soldiers.

Smoke rose from an Indian Army base which was attacked in Uri, west of Srinagar in Indian Kashmir, on Sept. 18. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the terror attack that killed 18 soldiers.
Smoke rose from an Indian Army base which was attacked in Uri, west of Srinagar in Indian Kashmir, on Sept. 18. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the terror attack that killed 18 soldiers. PHOTO:EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

On Wednesday, the White House said the U.S. national-security adviser, Susan Rice, “strongly condemned” the militant attack, which it said highlighted “the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region.”

According to senior Indian officials, Indian forces crossed the line of control and hit temporary terrorist camps about a mile inside Pakistani-held territory. A military officer familiar with the operations said the forces pushed as far as 3 miles before withdrawing back across the line of control. Similar operations were conducted in 2013 after an Indian soldier was beheaded and another mutilated in border clashes, the officer said. Those raids weren’t disclosed to the public.

Pakistan’s military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa, said India’s assertions of a “surgical strike” were a “fabrication.” He said, “Nothing like that happened on the ground.”

Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, also played down the event, which he described as “small weapons fire” across the line of control.

Another Pakistani security official said the confrontation involved “post-to-post fire exchange” along the line of control with some small-scale movement of Indian troops toward Pakistani posts.

India’s Gen. Singh said the military action followed “specific and credible information” that terrorists were waiting to infiltrate into India and carry out attacks in Kashmir and Indian cities. Gen. Singh said the Indian army had foiled 20 infiltration attempts by terrorists this year.

Attacks in India by Pakistani militants have brought India and Pakistan close to war before, including the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, blamed by Delhi on the Pakistani jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the 2008 multiday assault on Mumbai, which India says was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has blamed Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack on the military base earlier in September, as well as an assault on an air base close to the Pakistani border at the start of the year. Despite assurances from Islamabad that it would act against terrorists, Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has denied involvement, has continued to operate openly from its base in central Pakistan.

Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United Nations considers a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, continues to give lectures and sermons—for instance, addressing followers at the festival of Eid earlier in September.

On Thursday, in the Indian state of Punjab, officials urged villagers to move away from border areas, making announcements over loudspeakers, said Mohan Singh, a police constable in the Punjabi city of Amritsar. Schools and shops were ordered closed on Thursday afternoon.

“We are telling people that the place might not be safe for them soon,” he said.

—Qasim Nauman and Saeed Shah in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Rajesh Roy and Vibhuti Agarwal in New Delhi contributed to this article.

Write to Niharika Mandhana at



Kashmir dispute: Two Pakistani soldiers killed after clashes with India

Pakistan Islamist accuses Obama of religious war on Muslims

September 26, 2012

Hafiz Saeed (L), the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, attends a conference for "safeguarding the honour of the Prophet Mohammad", with other political and religious leaders in Islamabad September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Hafiz Saeed (L), the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, attends a conference for “safeguarding the honour of the Prophet Mohammad”, with other political and religious leaders in Islamabad September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

By Aisha Chowdhry | Reuters

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – One of Pakistan’s most feared Islamists accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of starting a religious war against Muslims over his handling of a video that mocked the Prophet Mohammad.

Hafiz Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the 2008 attack by Pakistani gunmen on India’s financial capital Mumbai, said Obama should have ordered steps to remove the film from the Internet instead of defending freedom of expression in America.

“Obama’s statements have caused a religious war,” Saeed told Reuters in an interview. “This is a very sensitive issue. This is not going to be resolved soon. Obama’s statement has started a cultural war.”

The Obama administration has condemned the film, which ignited Muslim protests around the world as “disgusting”.

But Western countries remain determined to resist restrictions on freedom of speech and have already voiced disquiet about the repressive effect of blasphemy laws in Muslim countries such as Pakistan.

“Obama has said he cannot block the film,” said Saeed. “What does that say?”

He said the United States should take tough action against the makers of the film.

“If not, then hand them to us,” he said, flanked by bodyguards.


India has repeatedly called on Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice, an issue that has stood in the way of rebuilding relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors since the carnage in Mumbai, where gunmen killed 166 people over three days.

India is furious that Pakistan has not detained Saeed since it handed over evidence against him to Islamabad. Washington has offered a reward of $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s capture.

Saeed founded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the 1990s, the militant group which India blames for the rampage in Mumbai, where six Americans were among the dead.

He denies any wrongdoing and links to militants.

The $10 million figure signifies major U.S. interest in Saeed. Only three other militants, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar, fetch that high a bounty. There is a $25 million bounty on the head of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

After the reward was announced, Saeed taunted the United States by holding a press conference at a hotel 40 minutes’ drive away from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, calling the bounty laughable.

On Wednesday, he again mocked the bounty, which has not led to Saeed’s capture even though he openly moves around strategic U.S. ally Pakistan, fires up supporters at rallies and runs a huge charity.

“I am wandering in my own country,” he said with a chuckle at a hotel where he and other Islamists gathered for a conference on the short film, called ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

“So, what right does America have to put a bounty on my head? I have told America to start a case against me in court. So I can give my point of view. This is terrorism by putting a bounty on people’s heads.”

A Pakistani minister offered $100,000 on Saturday to anyone who kills the maker of the online video. A spokesman for Pakistan’s prime minister said the government dissociated itself from his statement.

While many Muslim countries saw mostly peaceful protests, 15 people were killed in Pakistan during demonstrations over the video.

The United States has accused Islamabad of foot dragging in the case of Saeed.

Pakistan disputes U.S. charges of inaction against militants, saying it has suffered more casualties than any other country in fighting the Pakistani Taliban, other militant groups along the Afghan border and Islamist groups inside the country.

Saeed abandoned the leadership of the LeT after India accused it of being behind an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. But his charity is suspected of being a front for the LeT.

A short bearded man, Saeed lives near a park and a mosque in a villa with a policeman stationed outside, in the central city of Lahore, capital of Punjab.

Some of his bodyguards wear olive camouflage vests while others are dressed in dark traditional shalwar-kameez, baggy shirt and trousers. Clutching AK-47 assault rifles, a few are positioned on his rooftop.

These days, he is a prominent member of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan Council), an alliance of right-wing groups opposed to Pakistan’s ties with the United States.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Ron Popeski)