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Despite house arrest, Hafiz Saeed to launch JuD as a political party on 14 August

Even as Pakistan extended the house arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed by two months on Monday, reports have emerged about Saeed wanting to rebrand his terror outfit to launch it as a political party.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind is all set to rename the new outfit as 'Milli Muslim League Pakistan' and register it with the Election Commission of Pakistan, according to a CNN-News18 report. He is also expected to launch his party on 14 August, Pakistan's Independence Day, in Lahore.

Saeed is said to have close relations with the Pakistani Army and the ISI. According to OneIndia, one of the posters for the rebranded outfit reads, "Hamari Siyasat, Khidmat Insaniyat (Our politics is for serving humanity)."

The development comes as Pakistan is grappling with political instability after the ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The future of the PML-N run government is still uncertain. While initial reports stated that Sharif's brother Shehbaz Sharif will be made the prime minister after he is elected to the National Assembly, Wednesday's reports suggest that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is likely to continue till the 2018 elections.

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

Saeed has been under house arrest since 31 January, along with four of his close aides, after years of living freely in Pakistan. Despite being confined, he continues to be an influential person in some of Pakistan's religious groups.

However, every time he is placed under house arrest, the Pakistani courts rule in his favour. Courts say intelligence against him is not admissible as evidence in court, and thus keeping him under house arrest is 'unconstitutional', The Quint reported.

Outgoing Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had said, "We are trying to gather more evidence against him and if we find there is enough evidence available to try him, we will do that."

Pakistan claims to have banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), but following the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, it re-emerged as Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD). The United Nations has recognised JuD as a political front of Lashkar. Ministers have been seen at public rallies that he has held in Islamabad. Saeed's outfit continues to hold anti-India-US rallies in Pakistan openly.

Saeed is on the most-wanted list of India and the US. Washington even announced a bounty of $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction. JuD acting chief Abdul Rehman Makki has reportedly launched a "secret campaign" to collect arms to target the law enforcement personnel in Pakistan, according to a report by the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police. Makki had also expressed his displeasure with the Pakistani government, saying the government is not fulfilling its duty on the Kashmir cause.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 04, 2017 13:30 PM

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