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India Forced Pak to Put Hafiz Saeed Under House Arrest, Says LeT Chief's Brother

The ‘crackdown’ on Lashkar-e-Toiba chief and US-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed is a direct result of pressure from India, but the proscribed organisation front Jamaat-ud-Dawa continues to function under the “supervision” of the Pakistani government, Saeed’s brother and LeT leader Hafiz Masood told CNN-News18.

Manoj Gupta | CNN-News18

Updated:February 20, 2017, 6:50 PM IST
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New Delhi: The ‘crackdown’ on Lashkar-e-Toiba chief and US-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed is a direct result of pressure from India, but the proscribed organisation front Jamaat-ud-Dawa continues to function under the “supervision” of the Pakistani government, Saeed’s brother and LeT leader Hafiz Masood told CNN-News18.

“My brother is under house arrest and he will be kept under observation by the Pakistan government. He is under strict watch and there is a lengthy procedure to meet him,” he told CNN-News18.

Masood sought to distance the activities of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the front for Lashkar, which has been banned) from the terror activities of Lashkar by saying his was a humanitarian organization running schools and hospitals. “We have nothing to do with Laskhar that is a Kashmiri unit. It is indigenous and it is working there,” he claimed.

Saeed, who has been blamed by India for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008, was put under house arrest on January 30, 2017, 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 acknowledgement of his links to militancy.

Earlier, Pakistani jihadi orgnisations including JuD had claimed that the US under Trump had pressurised Islamabad to put Saeed under house arrest. However, in his telephonic conversation with CNN-News18, Masood said the organization suspected it was New Delhi that had forced Islamabad’s hand.

“We think that it has been done under pressure from India. They want to send a message to the world, to distract attention from the 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. All this has been done under pressure from India... and the Pakistan government has given in to the pressure,” he said.

Interestingly, despite his disappointment that Pakistan had bowed down to Indian pressure, Masood did not openly denounce Islamabad or the Nawaz Sharif government.

He said that Sharif should stop trying to be India’s friend and give more support to his cause.

“Nawaz 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 and violence in response to Pakistan's offer of peace, India has seen Pakistan's gesture of peace as a sign of weakness. We see Sharif as a peaceful man who is a friend of Kashmiris. Sharif is continuing on that path, where India is rejecting peace and oppressing Kashmiris. We want Sharif to instead give more support to Kashmiris instead of trying to be India's friend,” he said.

Masood said his organization has been under pressure for a long time but there was no restrictions as such on the activities of the JuD.
“See, even then the United Nations has put sanctions against us. In Muridke (JuD headquarters near Lahore), the Punjab state government is running it under its control. So 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 (Saeed) has been put under house arrest to curb his support to the Kashmir issue,” he said.

| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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