Accused by the United States of being a front for the anti-India militant group which staged the 2008 Mumbai attack in the country, Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa is now entering the political space with the introduction of a new party in Pakistan. Milli Muslim League, the newly formed party will be following the ideology of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) which allegedly is the front of the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, run by Hafiz Saeed who is alleged to be the mastermind of the tragic Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people.
As reported by the Reuters, JuD activist and the spokesperson for the newly formed party, Tabish Qayoum said, “We have decided to make a new political party, so that Pakistan is to made a real Islamic and welfare state. It is now need of the hour to get your message to the grassroots.”
JuD officials further claimed that the charity is not a front of LeT and touted that the group’s activities are examples of Islamic charity. The spokesperson also asserted that Hafiz Saeed, who is under house arrest in Lahore and other JuD figures won’t be actively involved in the newly formed political party. Reuters quoted the party Chief Khalid saying, “We demand an immediate release of Hafiz Saeed. Once he is released we will seek his guidance and ask what role he wants in this political party.”
While Saeed has ridiculed accusations linking him with the Mumbai terror attack, the United States has offered 10 $million for any information which will lead to the arrest and conviction of Saeed. Being free for years after the terror attack, Saeed was taken under house arrest in January this year.
The US State Department, in one of its report on terrorism for 2016 had earlier claimed that LeT and its wings are actively using economic resources and raising funds in Pakistan. Many believe that the new political party will be a better cover for militants amid escalating pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorist outfits like JuD and LeT. Several countries had earlier blamed Pakistan for harbouring and funding militant outfits to use them as a proxy to establish power in the region.
By: Priyam Mukhopadhyay