The U.S. Department of Treasury added 8 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on August 30, 2012. Those added to the list include Sajid Mir (who played an integral role in 26/11), Abdullah Mujahid (LeT commander responsible for Afghanistan operations), Abdullah Muntazir and Talha Saeed (son of Hafiz Saeed). In April 2012, the U.S. Department of State also issued a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Hafiz Saeed himself.
But Hafiz Saeed, who now apparently harbors political aspirations in Pakistan, has gone to great lengths (as this blog has previously pointed out) in painting himself as the leader of the Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD), a self-proclaimed charitable organization, and having no connection with the LeT. But the fact that the LeT, JuD and the Difa-e-Pakistan Council are all inexorably linked is a known to both India and the U.S.
In response to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s decision, Hafiz Saeed yet again attempted to distance himself from the LeT and claimed that U.S. actions were motivated by the JuD’s opposition to the forthcoming operations in North Waziristan. Excerpts from Hafiz Saeed’s interview with the far-right newspaper, Ummat follow:
The U.S. has designated many of my colleagues as terrorists affiliated to an organization called Lashkar-e-Taiba. But the JuD has nothing to do with the LeT. I previously articulated that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of the many organizations that operates in India’s Occupied Kashmir, whose members are all residents of Kashmir. We, on the other hand, are based only in Pakistan. In attempting to conflate the LeT and JuD, America’s intelligence agencies are fooling not only the rest of the world, but also the people of Pakistan.
At this point in time the JuD is in the process of garnering popular support against the U.S.’s policies on Pakistan, as well as the re-opening of NATO supply lines and the resumption of drone strikes. The U.S. has been displeased with our activities, and hence the attempt to malign our leadership.
These latest U.S. actions are meaningless, because those who have been designated terrorists have neither any assets or bank accounts in the U.S., nor have they ever traveled to the U.S. This is just an attempt to malign our organization and fool the American people into believing that their government is trying to combat terrorism.
I have already communicated to the UN our views on being targeted by the U.S., and will write again, in response to the destinations by the U.S. We are also in the process of organizing a protest, with the aid of other religious and political organizations in Pakistan, against U.S. policies in Pakistan. The protest will take place on September 11.
We have previously invited the U.S. to visit with us and to verify for themselves the charitable work being carried out by the JuD. However, we have not received any response. Regardless of what the U.S. does, we will be urging the Pakistani government to pursue its own national interests and not buckle under U.S. pressure. [روزنامہ امّت]