Spokesperson for Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Yahya Mujahid told The Express Tribune on Friday that Malik Ishaq was present on the stage of the Defense of Pakistan Council (DPC) rally in Multan.
Mujahid contradicted ex-spymaster Hamid Gul’s statement in a TV interview in which he had denied Ishaq’s presence – going as far as calling a photo in The Express Tribune “doctored” and then questioning the credibility of the paper’s reporter.
Mujahid said Hamid Gul was wrong, and added that it was the DPC’s unanimous decision that Ishaq will not address the rally. Malik Ishaq is one of the founders of the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Mujahid added the rule was that any person addressing the DPC rally will not be a member of a banned outfit.
Threatening the media
The JuD spokesman also apologised on behalf of Qari Sheikh Yaqoob regarding his statement against the media at the DPC Karachi rally. Yaqoob had said that in case of lack of coverage of PDC events, the venues will be converted into grave yards for the media. Mujahid said: “one should condemn the statement of Qari Yaqoob as much as one can.”
He added that he has written apology letters to the media in the capacity of a representative of JuD.
Mujahid said the DPC rallies were being conducted in a very organised manner. Funding is provided by member parties, and host parties for different rallies funded the respective events in their cities.
JuD hosted the Lahore rally, Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamat organised the one in Multan, Sheikh Rasheed hosted the Rawalpindi event and in Karachi Jamat-e-Islami was the DPC host. Mujahid said all involved parties have nationwide networks which support them in managing events.
Mujahid was attending a protest called by the JuD outside their main mosque Jamia Qadsia in Chauburgi, Lahore. The protest was called under the banner of the Defence of Pakistan Council to protest against the impending recommencement of Nato supply routes and trade with India.
A senior leader of JuD, Amir Hamza said the reason the United States has a problem with JuD chief Hafiz Saeed is because, “He (Saeed) speaks against the violation of human rights by the US allied forces in this region.”
A gathering of a few hundred supporters, who were at the Jamia to say Friday prayers, were the primary attendees. DPC has called for a meeting of the heads of the member parties on February 19 in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012.