Amid a deepening chill in the prickly India-Pakistan relations, the Mumbai carnage mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s virulent anti-India diatribe at a rally staged at a national monument in Lahore is only going to exacerbate strained ties between the two estranged South Asian neighbours.
Saeed, the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a UN-proscribed terror outfit, spewed venom against India recklessly at a rally near the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, calling the elections in Jammu and Kashmir as sham and declaring a shrill call to liberate Kashmir.
India has denounced Saeed’s diatribe and made it clear that such a mammoth rally in Lahore could not have taken place without support from the state apparatus. New Delhi decried the rally as “mainstreaming of terrorism” and underlined it was against all evolving global norms on terror. “What is happening in the so-called ‘ishtimaah’ (congregation) of the JuD … I think I would describe it as nothing short of mainstreaming of terrorism,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said in New Delhi December 5.
“This was an event which took place at the national monument in Pakistan. It was an event (for which) large number of police personnel were deployed. The event which was advertised all over Pakistan. And it was an event by an organisation which is proscribed not only by India but the US, UK, Australia and the UN. Also, it was addressed by an individual who is designated as a terrorist by UNSC. These facilities are provided to a designated terrorist organisation,” he said.
The UN declared JuD a terrorist organization as well as Saeed, who was also individually designated by the UN under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008. The resolution envisages freezing of funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities and prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by designated individuals.
In his inflammatory speech, Saeed described Pakistanis and Kashmiris as ‘blood brothers’ and declared a jihad to liberate Kashmir. “Ghazwae Hind is inevitable, Kashmir will be freed, 1971 will be avenged and Ahmedabad Gujrat victims will get justice Insha Allah,” Saeed tweeted.
Saeed’s anti-India jeremiad, allegedly encouraged by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, only reinforces India’s assessment that the current dispensation in Pakistan has neither inclination nor will to address New Delhi’s concerns on cross-border terror, an issue that continues to cloud the India-Pakistan relations. Pakistan has repeatedly given a pledge to India not to allow its territory for anti-India activities, an assurance that has been brazenly disregarded and violated.
If Pakistan does not rein in the loose tongue of the 26/11 mastermind, India will be justified in maintaining that no meaningful dialogue is possible with its estranged South Asian neighbour.
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