Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) founder and funder of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed today said the bounty the US had offered for his arrest was based on limited knowledge and wrong information being provided by India.
“I believe either the US has very little knowledge and is basing its decisions on wrong information being provided by India or they are just frustrated,” Saeed told Al Jazeera.
Saeed claimed that the US move had come due to his group organising protest rallies against Pakistan allowing NATO to supply troops in Afghanistan.
“We are not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding us. I think the US is frustrated because we are taking out countrywide protests against the resumption of NATO supplies and drone strikes,” Saeed said.
Mohammed Masood, Hafiz Saeed’s brother,said he was sure nothing would happen due to the US bounty on his brother’s head.
He also said the protests against the NATO supply lines had resulted in the US taking this step against Saeed.
“People in Pakistan love the work he has been doing and when they hear of this they will only be angered more,” Masood told Times Now.
“As it is the reputation of US in Pakistan is low and will only dip lower after this move,” he said.
The US listing for Saeed describes him as a former professor of Arabic and Engineering who was a founding member of “Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a radical Deobandi Islamist organisation dedicated to installing Islamist rule over parts of India and Pakistan, and its military branch, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)”.
“Saeed is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which resulted in the deaths of 166 people, including six American citizens,” the listing further states.
The website noted that India has issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Saeed for his role in the Mumbai attacks. Besides, the US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a “Specially Designated National under Executive Order 13224″.
The Order provides a means to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist groups by authorising the US government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
The US has also offered a $2 million bounty for Saeed’s deputy Abdul Rahman Makki, who is described on the Rewards for Justice website as the “second in command” of the LeT.
The US designated the LeT a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation” in December 2001 and the JuD was given the same designation in April 2008. The UN Security Council declared the JuD a terrorist organisation in December 2008, soon after the Mumbai attacks.
Saeed, born on 6 May 1950 at Sargodha in Punjab province, was put under house arrest for less than six months after the Mumbai attacks, largely due to pressure from the international community. He was freed in 2009 on the orders of the Lahore High Court.
Though the LeT was banned by the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan government has not formally outlawed the JuD.
The JuD also carries out its activities through the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, which was created in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
In recent months, Saeed has played a key role in cobbling together the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a conglomerate of over 40 hardline and extremist groups that has organised massive rallies against the US and India across Pakistan.
with inputs from PTI