NEW DELHI: India’s diplomatic effort to force Pakistan to crack down on terror outfits was thwarted today after a judicial review in Lahore decided to release Hafiz Saeed, the head of the Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and alleged mastermind of the November 26, 2008 attack in Bombay. The decision comes in the week leading to the anniversary of the tragedy.
The decision of a Judicial Review Board in Lahore also flies in the face of a US’ offer of a $ 10 million bounty for Hafiz Saeed for his suspected role in the Bombay attack. But it also rides an exemption to the Lashkar e Toiba by the US from the Afghan sanctions. The sanctions continue to be imposed on the Taliban.
Though there is no formal statement from the foreign office in India yet, there was a sense that this was inevitable.
“We did not believe that Pakistan was serious about cracking down on Saeed and his outfits in the first place,” said one official. But there is some disappointment that the US was not putting enough pressure on Islamabad.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, G Parthasarathi, former High Commissioner to Islamabad, said the army in Pakistan was now seeking to dominate its politics ahead of the next elections by propping up the LeT/JuD.
“First, they will finish the Sharif family. Zardari is facing charges. Their favourite is Imran Khan who came into politics with the support of Gen Hamid Gul who used to head the ISI. This is the first time that the JuD would have a candidate in Sharif’s constituency and they will be a factor in (Pakistan’s) Punjab. There are complications of course because the JuD is a banned organization but they will operate through some front. The release of Hafiz Saeed is part of the mainstreaming of the LeT into politics,” he said.
“If I was running things in Delhi I would point out to the Americans that the LeT is being mainstreamed in Pakistan and they should take notice,” he added.