A recent BBC documentary exposed the visits of LeT Chief and wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed to Britain in 1990 and 1995. Despite the crackdown, banned organisations are resurfacing with new titles. They are collecting money for charity, but that will end up in the coffers of terrorist organisations like LeT. According to BBC report, LeT chief Hafiz Saeed toured Britain during the 1990s inciting Muslim youths to become Jihadis years before 9/11. Saeed returned to Britain in 1995, calling upon Muslim youth to take up arms or jihad against the West, including Britain….writes Dr Sakariya Kareem
In Pakistan, there is only one institution which has the gumption and muscle to issue threats, criticise the state and browbeat the ministers—it is the Pakistan Army. So when Hafiz Saeed, the terrorist mastermind and leader Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), a global terrorist organisation, openly issues threats to the state and challenges a federal minister, there can only be two conclusions. Either he has become too powerful or his patrons are hoisting him to play their same old game of blackmail.
Early this month, Saeed criticised the federal government for not doing anything to make Pakistan an Islamic country. He threatened to launch a massive protest.
This threat follows Saeed serving a Rs 100 million legal notice to Pakistan’s Defence Minister for “defamation,” after the government banned his terrorist group from collecting donations in a belated action prodded by the U.S. President Donald Trump’s outburst against Islamabad for sheltering terrorists.
At about the same time, a British documentary, aired by BBC, exposed Saeed’s role in inciting UK Muslims to become terrorists.
According to the BBC investigative report, Saeed toured Britain during the 1990s inciting Muslim youths to become jihadis years before 9/11. Although this fact has been known for years, the new documentary reasserts the role played by Saeed in creating pockets of terrorist activities in Britain and other countries in the world. At one point of time, LeT and its offshoots were present and active in several countries before 9/11. It was the US `war on terror` which forced Saeed to shut down many of its branches and concentrate on expanding his network in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It is now known that Saeed had toured Britain in 1995, calling upon Muslim youth to take up arms or jihad against the West, including Britain. According to reports published by Saeed’s magazines, in Huddersfield, Saeed said: “In order to defeat infidels, it is our duty to develop all forms of arms and ammunition, including nuclear bomb. That is God’s command. We (LeT) have declared jihad and killing as first condition of our belief.”
So successful were Saeed’s incendiary speeches that each of his trip, according to BBC, “raised £150,000 or more. Women removed their gold bangles and earrings in response to his call. Hundreds of Britons went to battlefields in the Philippines, Kashmir and Bosnia, with some losing their lives.” The documentary said the LeT network was still present in Britain despite the group being banned in 2001.
The documentary is a timely reminder of the global threat Saeed and his group poses and points to an even greater threat in Pakistan Army which supports and sustains groups like LeT. Seen along with the recent President Donald Trump’s accusations against Pakistan, there is no doubt a greater urgency on the part of the international community to disable and dismantle Hafiz Saeed’s terrorist empire. This can only be done by bringing around the Generals in Rawalpindi who consider Saeed as a useful puppet in the games they play.
While the west has all along indulged the Generals playing such a game over the years, many countries are realising the grave danger such a mollycoddling has created for them and their people. Saeed is not merely a threat to India, he is a global threat, much like what Osama bin Laden was.
Saeed may not have been able to execute any attack against the US or any other western nation. But that does not mean that his group and its many offshoots camouflaged as charities cannot directly or indirectly carry out an attack of the magnitude of 9/11. The group has the capability, has access to all kinds of weapons and the experience of their handlers in Pakistan Army. It is the same army which many of the western nations had used to play their geo-political games in the past. But this factor should not become a stumbling block in containing and neutralising Saeed and his group’s patrons.
The growing clout of Saeed and his renewed political ambitions should raise red flags and call for a united action against him and his terrorist group. For that his patron Generals must be taken to task and compelled to put an end the jihadi empire of Hafiz Saeed.