NEW DELHI: Alarmed security agencies are baffled by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s warning of more Pathankot-style attacks as his comments were made in the presence of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Sayed Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council (UJC), which had earlier claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack. Salahuddin has been trying to revive terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and his associates had launched a massive recruitment drive last year to lure local youths.
“You have only seen one attack on Pathankot. Matters could easily escalate,” Saeed had said at a rally in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Sources said Saeed’s warning despite efforts from both the countries to move closer is clearly aimed at derailing the peace process, providing terrorists and their supporters, including some state actors, much needed leverage over the Sharif government.
Officials said Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiyaba, continues to guide the terror outfit which had recently carried out the Udhampur attack in Jammu and Kashmir. “Now, it is the duty of Pakistan to take action against Hafiz Saeed and stop differentiating between good terrorists and bad terrorists. They need to answer how Saeed, a most wanted terrorist, is roaming free,” officials said.
Meanwhile, the government on Thursday asked Pakistan to “rein in” the JuD chief and internationally-designated terrorist and voiced grave concern over his activities. “Hafiz Saeed is globally-designated international terrorist. His claim that his many front organisations are carrying out charitable work is not even a fig leaf. He indulges in terrorist activities and terrorist financing.
“It should be a matter of grave concern to everyone that terrorists like Saeed and his associates continue to enjoy the freedom to indulge in their activities (in Pakistan),” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Asserting that it was “up to Pakistan to rein in Saeed”, he also noted that Pakistan had imposed a ban last year on the media coverage of militant groups like the JuD and LeT but contrary to that ban, the electronic media was still showing Saeed’s speeches.