Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed today said he had received a call from Asiya Andrabi, the founder of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, seeking his help to resolve what she called the crisis in India's northern state of Kashmir. Addressing a rally here, Saeed said, "The way Indian security forces are engaged in bloodshed in Kashmir, my sister Asiya Andrabi cried for 15 minutes and told me over phone that my brothers where are you?"
"I am telling my sister Asiya that my sister, we are coming. This act of violence will come to end and nobody can stop Kashmir from becoming independent," he added. Saeed further said that he had also received a call from Burhan Wani (Hizbul Mujahideen militant), wherein he had said, "His (Wanis) last wish was to talk to me (Saeed)".
"Few days before his death, Burhan Wani told me over a phone that it was my desire to talk with you. Now my desire has been fulfilled, and now, I am waiting for martyrdom," said Saeed in an event organized to express solidarity with both Andrabi and Wani.
"I want to assure the people of Kashmir that if you are in the field, we are also with you," said the Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader. He also warned India that this was its last chance to accept separatist Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's four-point formula on Kashmir and to withdraw security forces from the valley, else the decision will be taken in battlefield.
"We have to give a message to India to stop and withdraw forces and accept Geelani's four-point formula immediately, because, this is the last chance, and hereafter, the matter will be decided in the battlefield," said Saeed.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader organised a procession from Lahore to Islamabad. It comprised of trucks and buses, stretched for several kilometers, and passed through many cities, including Gujaranwala, Jhelum and Gujarat.
His rallies were attended by federal ministers and religious leaders of various organisations. The Pakistan Government's direct links with Hafiz Saeed has been further exposed by Islamabad allowing him to lead an anti-India rally on the Kashmir issue.
Saeed led a Pakistan Government call to Observe July 19 as a Black Day, apparently to draw attention to the "burning issue of Kashmir." The Obama Administration has been taken aback by this event.
The US has designated both the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) as foreign terrorist organisations. Saeed has also been listed by the UN Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
South Asia watchers in Washington say that by allowing a terrorist to take up a government sponsored cause the Pakistan Government has bared its selective approach towards terrorism. When banned outfits are allowed to openly hold rallies in Pakistan at the behest of the Government the allegations about Pakistan using terror as state policy appears to gain ground.
Experts say had Pakistan banned Saeed from holding this rally and had instead placed someone else in charge of the July 19 protests then that would have been understandable. The question arises why Saeed, is it because he is a terror asset which the state cannot do without, wonder South Asia analysts. They question is Saeed so important that Islamabad is risking an important relationship with the United States.
Pakistan's irrevocable links with Saeed have disappointed the Obama Administration but have not shocked officials. It was always known in Washington's South Asia circles that Hafiz Saeed is an asset that the Pakistani State will always protect not standing the fact that he is a designated global terrorist.
The LeT remains active and open in Pakistan and just recently had the audacity to attack Medina in Saudi Arabia in which 12 of its suspected members were arrested. This connection was also highlighted by a European Parliament Report by Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki where he pointed out how the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a charity front of the LeT was radicalising the Pakistani Diaspora and the state was a mute spectator.
The July 19 Kashmir Rally is certain to be brought up on Capitol Hill where proposals are afoot to cut financial aid to Pakistan in the absence of complete and verifiable de-linkage with terror groups.
While the Obama Administration has been supporting Pakistan as an important ally in the war against terror, this July 19 rally, where a wanted terrorist has been given state patronage, is certain to raise questions and embarrass Washington.