Imran Khan’s minister proved yet again that Hafiz Saeed is Pakistan’s asset No. 1
New Delhi, Dec 18: The seriousness of Imran Khan's government in its war against terror has been exposed. Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan's junior interior minister was heard saying that he would protect Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief, Hafiz Saeed.
The leaked video showed Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi talking to the Milli Muslim League (MML) leaders. When his attention was drawn towards the non-registration of the party by the Election Commission of Pakistan due to pressure from the US, the minister said he would let that happen. As long as we (the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) are in the government all those including Hafiz Saeed who is raising voice for Pakistan and righteousness, we are with them, "Afridi said.
The news did make headlines, but comes as no surprise. Saeed has for several years now been referred to as the darling of the ISI and Pakistan army. India has always maintained that all governments in Pakistan would be soft towards the Mumbai attack mastermind as he enjoys the support of the ISI as a result of which he is a free spirit in Pakistan.
Looking at how the ISI has handled Saeed it is evident that he is one man they would not ever give up, as he holds the key to pushing Pakistan's policy against India.
Born at Sargodha (Punjab province of Pakistan) in 1950 to a Pakistani-Punjabi family, his hatred towards India started to build up when he lost 38 members of his family during the partition of India.
His family was based out of Shimla and while migrating to Lahore his family members were killed in the riots.
He was very outspoken and his fiery speeches against India and the Kashmir issue made the Pakistan establishment sit up and take notice. Former Pakistan president General Zia-ul-Haq was the first to spot his abilities and appointed him as a member of the council on Islamic Study. He also served as an Islamic teacher at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore.
In 1980s he left for Saudi Arabia for higher studies where he made his first contact with jihadis, who discussed the war in Afghanistan with him. Saeed was told to join one Professor Zafar Iqbal and asked to dedicate more time in joining the warriors in Afghanistan against the Russians. To further this agenda Saeed floated the Markaz Dawa Wal Irshad with another member called Abdullah Azzam and a few youths.
The ISI which realised the potential of this group helped Saeed float the LeT in the 1990s. The primary intention of floating the Lashkar was the carry forward the battle at Kashmir. Saeed had become an inspirational figure, thanks to his oratory skills and this in turn helped the Lashkar pick up youth to take up jihad with ease. Saeed's anti-India remarks were an instant hit with the Pakistani youth and the establishment, and over the years, the Lashkar became a force to reckon with.
He is capable of Kashmir and more:
However, Saeed's war was not restricted to Kashmir alone. He realised that his group required to get more attention, and the best way to do this was to keep hitting a key locations in India so that the world took notice.
Saeed probably is the only terrorist in Pakistan who has an unblemished record with the ISI. He is the man who is capable of carrying out the Pakistan agenda against India. Moreover, he is much loved by the younger recruits who swear by him while taking up the path of Jihad. Indian officials say that the ISI cannot afford to lose him.
"Acting tough on Saeed could either weaken the LeT, or the outfit could spin out of control. The ISI would not want something of this sort to happen to it, as it is the only outfit which blindly executes the Pakistan policy against India," says an officer.
Former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay says every group or leader in Pakistan has at least once been on the back burner due to an altercation with the ISI. However this has not been so in the case of the Lashkar and Saeed.