Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has announced that his organisation Jamat-ud-Dawah would contest Pakistan’s 2018 general elections under Milli Muslim League — a still-to-be-registered political front.
The banned JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed.
“The Milli Muslim League (MML) is planning to contest next year’s general elections,” said Saeed, who has been designated a terrorist by both the United Nations and the United States.
Talking to a group of columnists at the JuD headquarters in Chauburji on Sunday, the JuD chief, who carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the US for his role in terrorist activities, said he would continue supporting the Kashmiris fighting the Indian forces.
“I want to tell India that I will continue to support Kashmiris no matter the difficulties. India wants us to stop raising our voices for the Kashmiris. It is building pressure on the Pakistani government. I want to tell Pakistan that back channel diplomacy has only harmed the Kashmir cause,” Saeed said, saying he was dedicating 2018 to Kashmiris.
He also said his detention in Pakistan and Hurriyat leaders in India was part of international agenda.
“This had been done to harm the Kashmir cause. India is angry at my being released from house arrest. I warn India if it does not stop its atrocities against Kashmiris, this struggle will intensify, and it (India) will have to face the music,” he said.
Saeed, who has been named as a prime plotter of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, walked free on November 24 after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He had been under detention since January this year.
India was outraged at Pakistan’s decision — a move it sees at its neighbour’s attempt at mainstreaming proscribed terrorists.
Saeed has now filed the petition to de-list him from the UN’s list of designated terrorists. He was also put under house arrest soon after the Mumbai attack in 2008, but a local court in Pakistan ordered his release in 2009.
In September, while Saeed was still under house arrest in Lahore, the JuD fought by elections from NA-120 in elections prompted by disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz later won the seat.
JuD-backed candidate Sheikh Yaqoob, who was placed in 2012 on a US Treasury sanctions list of those designated as leaders of terrorist organisations. Yaqoob — who fought the election as an independent candidate after Pakistan’s Election Commission rejected Milli Muslim League’s application to be registered as a political front in October over its links with the militant LeT — had secured 6,000 votes.
US declared the JuD a foreign terrorist organisation in June 2014.
Mumbai police killed nine attackers of the terrorist attack that killed 166 people and wounded more than 300 people. India executed Ajmal Kasab — the only terrorist who was caught after the attack — in November 2012.