India miffed as Palestine envoy shares stage with Hafiz Saeed in Rawalpindi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India miffed as Palestine envoy shares stage with Hafiz Saeed in Rawalpindi

Photos of the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, sharing the stage with Hafiz Saeed and addressing the rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi were circulated on social media on Friday. The rally was organised to condemn the US move on Jerusalem.

INDIA Updated: Dec 30, 2017 08:30 IST

Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Walid Abu Ali (L), Palestine ambassador to Pakistan, seated next to Hafiz Saeed at a rally in Rawalpindi.
Walid Abu Ali (L), Palestine ambassador to Pakistan, seated next to Hafiz Saeed at a rally in Rawalpindi.(Photo: Twitter)

India reacted with anger after Palestine’s envoy to Pakistan joined Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed at a rally organised by jihadi groups on Friday, just days after New Delhi backed a UN resolution that denounced the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Photos of the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, sharing the stage with Saeed and addressing the rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi were circulated on social media on Friday. The rally was organised to condemn the US move on Jerusalem.

The development triggered an angry response from the external affairs ministry, with spokesperson Raveesh Kumar saying in a brief statement: “We are taking up the matter strongly with the Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities.”

The statement noted that the Palestinian envoy had been seen at the rally “organised by the JuD chief and mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack Hafiz Saeed”.

Officials said a strongly worded demarche would be sent to the Palestinian government.

The external affairs ministry was especially angered as the development came less than 10 days after India joined 127 other members of the United Nations to back a resolution criticising US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The countries disregarded Trump’s threat to cut aid to countries that voted for the resolution.

India’s decision to back the resolution prompted a protest from Israel, a key ally in defence and security matters.

New Delhi explained the vote by saying its position on Palestine is “independent and consistent” and “shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country”.

The “Tahafuz Baitul Maqdas” rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) in Rawalpindi featured several jihadi leaders condemning the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The event was attended by thousands, including members of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

Photos on social media showed the Palestinian envoy seated next to Saeed and addressing the large gathering. Several speakers at the gathering, including Saeed, also referred to the Kashmir issue and made anti-India remarks. Saeed also called on Muslim nations to act in the defence of Jerusalem.

The DPC is a grouping of some 40 extremist and jihadi groups that was formed by Hafiz Saeed and other extremists in 2012. It has campaigned for long for snapping ties with India and the US.

Pakistan Church Attacked by 2 Suicide Bombers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

A family fleeing after a suicide bombers attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday. Credit Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Two suicide bombers attacked a church packed with worshipers on Sunday in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight people and injuring at least 30 others, several critically, officials said.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, the capital of the restive Baluchistan Province, in the country’s southwest. The group’s Amaq News Agency posted a statement online Sunday that said attackers had stormed a church in Quetta, but gave no further details.

The assault raised concerns about the security of religious minorities, especially Christians, in a country with a dismal record when it comes to the treatment and protection of religious minorities, analysts say.

Pakistani officials denied that ISIS had an organized presence in the country, however, even though the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for several other attacks in Baluchistan in recent years.

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The main hall of the church in Quetta, Pakistan, after the deadly assault. ISIS claimed responsibility. CreditArshad Butt/Associated Press

“Law enforcement agencies have badly failed in protecting common citizens, and minorities in particular,” said Shamaun Alfred Gill, a Christian political and social activist based in Islamabad.

“December is a month of Christian religious rituals,” Mr. Gill said. “We had demanded the government beef up security for churches all over the country. But they have failed to do so.”

Christians make up at least 2 percent of the country’s population of about 198 million. Most of them are marginalized and perform menial jobs.

The attack, a week before the Christmas holiday, unfolded in the early morning hours at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church. About 400 people had gathered for Sunday service when an assailant detonated his explosives-laden vest near the door to the church’s main hall.

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A woman wounded in the attack. CreditBanaras Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Another attacker failed to detonate his suicide jacket and was shot by security forces after an intense firefight, officials said.

Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial home minister, said the death toll could have been higher had the attacker managed to reach the main hall of the church, which is on one of the busiest roads in the city and near several important public buildings.

Local television networks broadcast images of terrified worshipers running out of the church as the attack was underway. Several young girls, wearing white frocks and holding red bags, could be seen fleeing the compound. Witnesses told local news outlets that people, panicked and frightened, had rushed out after hearing a loud explosion, followed by the sound of gunfire outside.

As security forces moved inside the main hall after the attack, they were confronted by a scene of bloody destruction. Several benches and chairs were overturned. Musical instruments were turned upside down.

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Security forces at the site of the attack, which raised questions about Pakistan’s ability to protect religious minorities. CreditNaseer Ahmed/Reuters

A Christmas tree with decorative lights stood at one corner, and a pool of blood lay outside the door where the suicide bomber had detonated explosives.

Two women were among the dead, and 10 women and seven children were among the injured, hospital officials said. Most of the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital nearby.

Quetta has been the scene of violent terrorist attacks recently, and a large number of military and paramilitary troops, apart from the police, have been deployed to maintain security.

Officials have repeatedly claimed that they have reduced violence in Baluchistan, a rugged and resource-rich province bordering Afghanistan and Iran. But the ease with which the attackers managed to carry out their assault on Sunday seemed to belie those claims.

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About 400 people had gathered for Sunday service when a bomber detonated explosives, sending worshipers fleeing. CreditBanaras Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The army repeatedly claims that it has broken the backbone of terrorism in the country,” Mr. Gill said. “But terrorism is still very much present and destroying the lives of common people.”

An insurgency by Baluch separatists has long simmered in the province, and the Taliban and other militants maintain a presence in the region.

Some officials were quick to shift blame toward Afghanistan, pointing to the presence of havens there for militants.

“The terrorists have safe sanctuaries across the border in Afghanistan,” said Anwar-ul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the Baluchistan government. “They have become a major source of terrorism inside Baluchistan.”

Many minority leaders, however, stressed that there was a bigger need to look inward to ensure security for religious minorities, especially Christians.

“This attack is a serious breach of security,” Mr. Gill said.

Sikhs In Pakistan Complain Of Pressure To Convert (To Islam)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Sikhs in Pakistan complain of pressure to convert

A complaint by a Sikh leader in Hangu district alleged an assistant commissioner had told members of the minority community to convert to Islam.

WORLD Updated: Dec 16, 2017 23:34 IST

Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
File photo of Sikhs walking through the narrow streets of Peshawar with Gorvindar Singh (centre), one of three Sikhs who was kidnapped for ransom, after his return home on March 1, 2010.
File photo of Sikhs walking through the narrow streets of Peshawar with Gorvindar Singh (centre), one of three Sikhs who was kidnapped for ransom, after his return home on March 1, 2010.(Reuters)

A representative of a Sikh body in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province has complained that members of the minority are being asked to convert to Islam by officials in the local administration.

A complaint filed by Farid Chand Singh, who represents the Sikh community in Hangu district, alleged that the assistant commissioner of Tall tehsil, Yaqoob Khan, had told members of the Sikh community, who had paid him a visit, to convert to Islam if they wanted their problems solved.

An incensed Singh filed the official complaint against Khan with the district commissioner. Singh told The Express Tribune newspaper that he had expressed serious concern as some Sikhs were “being forced to convert to Islam” by the government official.

Singh also said in his complaint that the Pashto-speaking Sikh community had been living in Hangu since 1901 and had never offended by anyone, specifically for religious reasons. He said they had always lived peacefully with Muslims.

Despite Hangu having been a hotbed for sectarian conflict, residents of the district had never harmed Sikhs, who were never approached by anyone to convert to Islam, he said. Sikhs have friendly relations with Muslims, who have always stood up for the community in times of need, he added.

“Had it been from someone ordinary, it would have never felt so offending but when you hear such things from a government official, it becomes something really serious,” Singh told the newspaper.

“We the residents of Doaba area are being tortured religiously,” the complaint said.

“The Constitution empowers us to defend our religious beliefs against anyone and we want you to call (the assistant commissioner of) Tall, Yaqoob Khan, and inquire (about) the issue,” it said, adding the issue “should be investigated so that the community could live in Pakistan with love, peace and harmony”.

The district commissioner, Shahid Mehood, said members of the Sikh community were offended during their meeting with the assistant commissioner but had never meant to insult them.

“There was no such issue of converting someone forcefully to Islam. Rather, the district administration ensures religious freedom,” Mehmood said.

Earlier this year,a public prosecutor told a group of Christians facing trial that he would get them acquitted if they converted to Islam. Nearly 60 Christians were on trial for the mob killing of two men mistaken for militants shortly after two suicide bombers blew themselves up near St John’s Catholic Church and Christ ‎Church of the Church of Pakistan,‎ at Youhanabad in Lahore, on March 15, 2015.

There is a sizeable Sikh population in parts of northwest Pakistan, including the lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Many of the Sikhs are petty traders and there have been instances of members of the community being kidnapped for ransom in recent years.

Honor killing in Pakistan: 19-year-old kills sister, brother-in-law

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Honor killing in Pakistan: 19-year-old kills sister, brother-in-law in Rawalpindi

Activists say around a thousand Pakistani women fall victims to so-called honour killings every year.

WORLD Updated: Dec 11, 2017 21:22 IST

Press Trust of India, Islamabad
Pakistani civil society activists carry placards during a protest in Islamabad.
Pakistani civil society activists carry placards during a protest in Islamabad.(AFP File Photo)

An angry Pakistani youth has allegedly shot dead his sister and her husband for marrying without the family’s consent, in the latest incident of honour killing in the country, police said.

The accused, identified as 19-year-old Saeed Anwar, had been upset at his sister, Mismat Musarrat, 18, for marrying Qaiser, 25.

The incident took place in Nagyal in Rawalpindi’s Gujjar Khan tehsil and police described it as an ‘honour killing’, Dawn newspaper reported.

The Station House Officer Ishtiaq Masood Cheema said the suspect had been waiting for an opportunity to kill the couple ever since they married a few months ago without the consent of his family.

He said that when Anwar found the couple alone in their house, the accused fired at them with a pistol, killing them both on the spot.

He later tried to flee the scene, but was apprehended by the police along with the murder weapon.

Cheema said police have booked Anwar for a double murder. Police will present him in court tomorrow to seek physical remand. The bodies of the victims have been shifted to a local hospital for a postmortem.

Last month, a newly-wed couple in Sindh province who married without the consent of their elders were killed allegedly on the orders of a jirga (village elders).

In September, police had exhumed bodies of a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, who had reportedly been electrocuted by their families on the orders of a jirga in Karachi.

Activists say around a thousand Pakistani women fall victims to so-called honour killings every year in which the victims, mostly a woman, are usually killed by a relative or on the orders of village elders for bringing dishonour to the family or the community.

LeT operative stayed with terrorists in Kashmir, filmed Indian army camps:

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

LeT operative stayed with terrorists in Kashmir, filmed Indian army camps: Officials

During interrogation, Sheikh disclosed that he had stayed in Pulwama, moved to various places with the help of Malik and even photographed some Army and para-military camps, the officials claimed.

INDIA Updated: Dec 11, 2017 21:15 IST

Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Army soldiers share a lighter moment as they guard during a gunbattle at Pakharpore village, south of Srinagar, Kashmir, on Nov. 30, 2017.
Army soldiers share a lighter moment as they guard during a gunbattle at Pakharpore village, south of Srinagar, Kashmir, on Nov. 30, 2017. (AP)

Suspected Lashker-e-Taiba operative Abdul Nayeem Sheikh, who was arrested last month from Lucknow, had spent some time in trouble-torn south Kashmir and filmed some Army installations, officials said.

Sheikh, a resident of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, was on the radar of central intelligence agencies for quite sometime before he was nabbed with the help of Uttar Pradesh police in the last week of November.

The case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central probe agency mandated to investigate all terror modules in the country.

The central security agencies, which interrogated Sheikh at length, had told the investigators about his accomplice, Tauseef Ahmed Malik, in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. He was placed under arrest by the NIA on December 9.

During interrogation, Sheikh disclosed that he had stayed in Pulwama, moved to various places with the help of Malik and even photographed some Army and para-military camps, the officials claimed.

Sheikh, who was wanted in connection with a 2014 terror case and was since on the run, told investigators that some important power projects and railway tracks in the Valley were surveyed, they said.

He had also visited some places in Himachal Pradesh, especially Kasol, which is frequented by Israeli nationals visiting India, according to the officials.

Security agencies have claimed that Sheikh was roped in for a recce mission similar to that undertaken by David Headley, a Pakistan-American, who is at present serving a prison sentence of 35 years at a US jail for his involvement in terror activities and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008.

They said Malik’s association with the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba also came to light during Sheikh’s interrogation.

Malik had shown to probe officials the places where Sheikh had stayed with the terrorists for over three months, they added.

Manmohan Singh Defied National Line By Meeting Pakistan Diplomats

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Manmohan Singh defied national line by meeting Pakistan diplomats: Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley wanted the former prime minister to explain what transpired at the meeting and went on to defend Modi government’s track record of fighting terror.

GUJARATELECTION2017 Updated: Dec 11, 2017 23:19 IST

Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)

Virtually ruling out an apology by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday charged former prime minister Manmohan Singh with defying the national line by meeting Pakistani diplomats and demanded to know the context, relevance and necessity of such a meet.

Terming the meeting as “political misadventure”, Jaitley wanted Singh and the Congress to explain the context of attending the dinner hosted by suspended party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for Pakistani diplomats.

He said the main Opposition party is expected to follow the national policy, which states that terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.

“Is (the) main opposition party not part of the State?” he asked.

Jaitley said that if anyone defies the national line, he should be prepared to answer questions.

“It is a political misadventure, it has a political cost,” he said.

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Jaitley addressed a press conference hours after Singh asked the Prime Minister to apologise to the nation for setting a “dangerous precedent”.

He wanted the former prime minister to explain what transpired at the meeting and went on to defend his government’s track record of fighting terror, saying no government in the past has a track record this government has in fighting terrorism.

In response to Singh’s demand for apology, Jaitley further said people who have violated the national policy of talks and terror not going hand in hand should apologize.

China warns its nationals of imminent attacks by ‘terrorists’ in Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

China warns its nationals of imminent attacks by ‘terrorists’ in Pakistan

The alert comes as thousands of Chinese are in Pakistan working on projects in President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road development plan, which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe.

WORLD Updated: Dec 08, 2017 16:11 IST

Reuters, Beijing
File photo of Pakistan police officers in Islamabad. The Chinese embassy has warned all “Chinese-invested organisations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness”.
File photo of Pakistan police officers in Islamabad. The Chinese embassy has warned all “Chinese-invested organisations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness”.(AP)

China on Friday warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for a series of imminent “terrorist attacks” on Chinese targets there, an unusual alert as it pours funds into infrastructure projects into a country plagued by militancy.

Thousands of Chinese workers have gone to Pakistan following Beijing’s pledge to spend $57 billion there on projects in President Xi Jinping’s signature “Belt and Road” development plan, which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe.

Protecting employees of Chinese companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs who have followed the investment wave along what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has been a concern for Chinese officials.

“It is understood that terrorists plan in the near term to launch a series of attacks against Chinese organisations and personnel in Pakistan,” the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a statement on its website.

The embassy warned all “Chinese-invested organisations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness, strengthen internal precautions, reduce trips outside as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces”.

It also asked Chinese nationals to cooperate with Pakistan’s police and the military, and to alert the embassy in the event of an emergency.

It did not give any further details.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry could not be reached immediately for comment.

China has long worried about disaffected members of its Uighur Muslim minority in its far western region of Xinjiang linking up with militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At the same time, violence in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province has fuelled concern about security for planned transport and energy links from western China to Pakistan’s deepwater port of Gwadar.

The Taliban, sectarian groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State all operate in Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan and is at the centre of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

In addition, separatists there have long battled the government for a greater share of gas and mineral resources, and have a long record of attacking energy and other infrastructure projects.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing two kidnapped Chinese teachers in Baluchistan in June, prompting the government in Islamabad to pledge to beef up security for Chinese nationals.

It had already promised a 15,000-strong army division to safeguard projects along the economic corridor.

China’s security concerns abroad have grown along with its global commercial footprint.

In 2016, a suspected suicide car bomber rammed the gates of the Chinese embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, killing the attacker and wounding at least three people.

88 schoolgirls in India forced to strip as punishment by teachers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWSPAPER ‘DAWN’ WHO IS OBTAINING INFORMATION FROM THE INDIAN NEWSPAPER THE ‘HINDUSTAN TIMES’)

 

Scores of schoolgirls in India were allegedly abused earlier this month as they were forced to strip in front of other schoolfellows at a girls’ school in India’s Arunachal Pradesh state, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.

Around 88 students studying in class VI and VII were subjected to the worst humiliation as a punishment for allegedly writing vulgar remarks against the head teacher.

According to Hindustan Times, it was assumed that the remarks were written by an unidentified student and that she was present among those students who were forced to strip in front of other schoolfellows.

The news report further added that three teachers of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Tani Happa (New Sagalee) in Papum Pare district forced the girls to undress on November 23.

Police officials said that the matter came to light four days later when a student body approached the police and filed a First Information Report in this regard, it added.

The complaint alleged that two assistant teachers and a junior teacher subjected the students to humiliation after the teachers recovered a piece of paper with vulgar remarks on it about the head teacher and a girl student.

Tumme Amo, a Superintendent of Police, confirmed the FIR and said that the case had been forwarded to the women police station. “The officer-in-charge of the [women] police station said the victims and their parents along with the teachers will be interrogated before registering a case,” Amo said.

All Papum Pare District Students Union (APPDSU) said in a press release that a team of the union had met the students and teachers on Tuesday, and found that an unidentified student had used vulgar words in a piece of paper mentioning the name of the head teacher and a student.

Subsequently, the teachers demanded an explanation from all the students of the two classes and later made them undress, it added.

“The school authorities did not speak to the parents of the students before punishing them,” APPDSU president Nabam Tado was quoted as saying.

Hafiz Saeed release: Pakistan moving from state sponsor of terror to state run by terrorists

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Hafiz Saeed release: Pakistan moving from state sponsor of terror to state run by terrorists

The failure of the Pakistani government to press a charge against Hafiz Saeed signifies Nawaz Sharif’s decline and the court judgment reflects the military’s ascension

EDITORIALS Updated: Nov 24, 2017 16:27 IST

Hindustan Times
Hafiz Saeed gestures outside a court in Lahore, Pakistan, November 22
Hafiz Saeed gestures outside a court in Lahore, Pakistan, November 22(AP)

It is no surprise that a Pakistani court has allowed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed to walk the streets again. From the start, his detention was little more than an eyewash by the Pakistani administration in response to the fierce global criticism of LeT’s role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Saeed was never formally charged with any terror crimes; his detention was based on minor public order rules. The judges argued that if Islamabad would not charge Saeed with a crime, then it was time to end his four-year long detention.

While there is speculation about whether Saeed’s release was linked to a lack of pressure from Washington, it is more likely that his release is the outcome of a changed domestic political landscape in Pakistan. LeT is the terrorist group most closely associated with the Pakistani military, so any serious action against Saeed was unlikely. The battle over his detention helped highlight Pakistan’s state sponsorship of terror to the rest of the world and promoted a broader, long-term policy of isolating Pakistan within the international community. That policy has been successful: Islamabad still has friends, but a lot fewer than in the past.

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What precipitated Saeed’s release is the ongoing power struggle between former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the military establishment. One could almost say the failure of the government to press a charge against Saeed signifies Sharif’s decline. The judgment is just as much a reflection of the military’s heightened power. Part of the military’s strategy is promoting a cluster of political parties to undermine Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). These have included a party built around former cricketer, Imran Khan, but today also include a political party structured around LeT. With Pakistani general elections scheduled for next year, it was necessary for Saeed to be released so that the LeT chief could effect the transition from a pretend prisoner to an authentic politician.

While Saeed’s release is reprehensible, it should be recognised that his conviction on terror charges would have meant a fundamental shift in the mindset of the Pakistani military establishment. His release indicates that if there is any change, it is only for the worse. Rawalpindi’s generals seem to have concluded that it makes sense for the future of their country to bring Saeed and his murderous cohorts into the political mainstream. Pakistan may now cease being a state sponsor of terrorism and instead become a state run by terrorists.

India Voices Concerns Over Pakistan’s Release Of Mumbai Mass Murderer Tomorrow

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

((oped) TO SAVE THE LIVES OF MANY THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE IT IS OF UP MOST IMPORTANCE THAT SOMEONE IN PAKISTAN PUT A LITTLE GRAY PILL BETWEEN THIS MANS EYES AS SOON AS HE STEPS OUT OF HIS HOUSE TOMORROW, ISN’T IT?) (trs)

India on Thursday expressed displeasure at the imminent release of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who it accuses of organising the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

A day earlier, the Lahore High Court had refused to extend detention orders against Saeed, whose current house arrest is going to expire on Nov 24 (Friday).

The review board under the chair of Justice Abdul Sami Khan passed these orders after a senior finance ministry official failed to convince the board that the release of Saeed would bring diplomatic and financial problems to the country.

The JuD chief had been placed under house arrest on January 31 for 90 days. Subsequently, his house arrest had been extended several times.

“India is outraged that a self-confessed and a UN proscribed terrorist is allowed to walk free and continue with his agenda,” Raveesh Kumar, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters at a weekly briefing in New Delhi.

Kumar said Saeed’s release will give an impression that Pakistan supports non-state actors.

Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and the United Nations over his alleged role in the attacks that left nearly 166 people dead, including Western nationals.

JuD is considered by the US and India to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed for the attacks.

The United States identifies Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group was headquartered in Muridke before it was disbanded and re-organised.

Following the LHC’s decision to cut his detention short, Saeed had told media that the decision was tantamount to “the victory of truth” and called it “a serious blow” to India’s demands.