A reward for nabbing Hafiz Saeed

Published: April 4, 2012

This photograph taken on April 11, 2011 shows chief of the Jamaatud Dawa Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (C) arriving to attend funeral prayers in absentia for Indian Kashmir's Muslim cleric Moulvi Shoukat Ahmad Shah. PHOTO: AFP

The United States has put a price of $10 million on information and evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and leader of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD). He is now on a par with Mullah Omar and the al Qaeda chiefs of Iran and Iraq, all of whom carry the same reward. His brother-in-law and co-founder of the LeT, Abdul Rehman Makki, now carries a reward of $3 million.

Hafiz Saeed is arguably a most powerful man in Pakistan, heading the country’s biggest charity organisation called Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), a new name for the LeT which Pakistan accepts as “not banned”. The JuD runs schools and colleges — from kindergarten upwards — and has actually made a name for itself among the country’s poor caring for populations struck by natural calamities. As the mover and shaker of the Defence of Pakistan Council, a coalition of 40 religious parties and pro-jihad political parties, Mr Saeed is perhaps the spearhead of Pakistan’s non-state actors who will prevent the state from allowing the resumption of the Nato supply route through Pakistan.

The world believes that Hafiz Saeed masterminded the Mumbai attack of 2008 and, led by the US, wants Pakistan to prevent him “from moving freely in the country, freeze the assets of the groups associated with him and stop allowing LeT from acquiring weapons — in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989”. In Pakistan, the JuD is not considered the same as the LeT (because of the varying nomenclature) and Hafiz Saeed seems to be a highly respected person because of his jihadi slogans against the “enemies of Pakistan”, which at the present moment are the US and India. Of course, the 10-million-dollar reward is going to make him more popular among his particular constituency, since it’s primary uniting ingredient is hate for America. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration to say that for his supporters, Mr Saeed is a national symbol of Pakistan’s defiance of the US. International reports about the “connectivities” of JuD with al Qaeda and Hafiz Saeed’s past associations with the founders of al Qaeda are hardly discussed in Pakistan’s media. The latest revelations made about the various sojourns of Osama bin Laden before his death — in Kohat, Swat, Karachi and Abbottabad are also dismissed without comment.

Why the head money now? Without a doubt Washington has become wary of the gravitation of Pakistan’s jihadi non-state actors to Afghanistan after the exit of American-Nato troops. The US is leaving behind what is rated as the largest Afghan Army in history numbering over 200,000. US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has said that the Afghan Taliban are on the run after having suffered reversals inside Afghanistan. What he doesn’t say is that he fears that just as the Soviet Union was defeated by a combination of Afghan mujahideen and Pakistani warriors, this time too Pakistan could infiltrate its non-state actors to achieve the ‘strategic depth’ it requires to feel safe about its northwestern neighbour. What is scarier for the world is the perception that Pakistan doesn’t control its non-state actors hundred per cent, as demonstrated by the Punjabi Taliban fighting the Pakistan Army in parts of Fata.

Pride and honour breed defiance no matter what the odds. Defiance in foreign policy when no one in the world backs you is called isolationism which is another name for defeat in the given international order. When our non-state actors defeated the Soviet Union the world was on our side in the proxy war; in Kashmir the world was not with us, and we were not successful in humbling India. The blowback from the coming ‘victory’ against the US will be far more lethal than the blowback from the victory against the Soviet Union. The problem is not only that foreign policy is being handled by parliament in Pakistan but that foreign policy will be spearheaded by elements who have their own agenda which may not be the same as what is best for the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.

Reader Comments (24)

  • Apr 4, 2012 - 1:03AM

    If US puts bounty on all terrorists like Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, then Pakistan can be one of the richest countries in the world.

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:59AM

    There is something fundamentally wrong with the psyche of Pakistan when it glorifies and called them most respected leaders such as AQ khan, Hafiz Saeed, Osama, Zaveri, Mullah Omar, Dawood Ibrahim. When practically all terrorist attacks regardless of location in the world has some kind of connection to Pakistan. No wonder all international cricket teams, head of states, investors, NGO,s stay away from Pakistan. Pakistanis complain why world does not understands them and discriminates against them. If Pakistan wants to be a member of the global village it has to correct its thinking errors. It reminds me of an old parable “Koop Manduke” (koop-water well, Manduke-Frog) When the frog in the water well thinks he owns the world whereas he is fooling itself as world even does not know that he exists i.e. narrow interpretation of how the world works.

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  • Bombay Dude
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Editorial – Spot on. I sincerely hope sanity prevails in Pakistan and those who read this article support it rather than usual ranting about how it is all fabrications and lie to please India and USA. It is a fast dwindling hope but still a HOPE.

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  • Rex Minor
    Apr 4, 2012 - 6:16AM

    The devil is in the details. 10 million offer is for the evidence to convict Mr Saeed? How can this be cashed if the guy was not involved in terror acts?

    Rex Minor

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  • harkol
    Apr 4, 2012 - 7:01AM

    In reality this struggle is between Majority Pakistan (perhaps 70%) & Minority Pakistan (30%). The Minority pakistanis support Jihadis and an rogue army that is no way accountable. Majority of pakistanis are silent spectators while folks like Hafeez run amok.

    All nations have their share of extremists & their sympathizers. Perhaps up to about 10% in some countries (certainly so in India). Problem in Pakistan is their percentage is far higher (upto 30%) and can’t be called fringe.

    Civilian govt. owes its existence to majority Pakistan. It has to stand up to the army and the extremist groups and educate the minority population of the dangers of their course. If it can’t do that the world will see Pakistan as a threat and deal with it accordingly.

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  • Apr 4, 2012 - 7:59AM

    @Zaid Hamid:

    This one was a killer joke.. Kudos! Ha!

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  • Apr 4, 2012 - 8:03AM

    Spot on.

    I can see clearly the blowback after 2014 for Pakistan. My God, if Pakistan were my Country I would be worried and preparing to move out post 2014.

    According to Islamists Islam won against communist Soviet Union. Now, if US leaves Islam would have defeated another World Super Power.

    The implication are tremendous. It will only motivate the Islamists more and harden their POV. Pakistan is going to take a drastic turn post 2014.

    I see US and EU sanctions on Pakistan post 2014.

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Apr 4, 2012 - 8:15AM

    Well played USA!!!

    USA has managed to hoodwink India and appease Pakistan with this list. How?

    India has been pushing for this for years now. USA had to do something. But putting a bounty on Hafeez’s head meant, someone might try and get him killed. Angering Pakistan. However with a bounty for arresting or information, there’s absolute guarantee that no one will attempt this.

    In other words, Hafeez Saeed is as safe as he ever was. And look at it this way too. Frankly for America to get information about Hafeez’s whereabouts, all one has to do is watch Pakistani TV. He’s live on TV every day.

    So…

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  • Mirza
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:01AM

    The beginning of the end of a nightmare for the civilians. The US has to be a good sport and let the gentleman choose between the seals and drones.

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  • Muhammad Sulman
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:01AM

    The policies about these types of organizations should be clear. If they (Jamaatud Dawa (JuD)) really involved in the terrorist activities as JUD banned few months ago in Pakistan its means they are terrorist then Govt. himself should take action not ordered by the USA\India or any other country. How long we will b led by others? When will our own foreign policy? Why we ever wait for the order from USA? When will our own Pakistan lead by our own leaders?

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  • SalSal
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:09AM

    So the US declares the bounty on a man SUSPECTED OF COMMITTING TERROR ATTACKS? SUSPECTED?

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  • MarkH
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:13AM

    All the jokes about him being out in the open are bad ones. They act like what happened with OBL is a common occurrence. Let enough time pass and maybe. But he’s still not at that level. At that point Pakistan had been acting like they were allies going after the guy too. There were no arguments or open differing opinions. The moment he was confirmed there chances are a simple cross border raid was the least violent thing put on the table of options. That added up to a whole lot of lying and playing people for fools while getting more and more money. Pakistan will be pressured long before a cross border raid occurs for the likes of that guy. Now, if someone were to give his location while he’s outside of Pakistan… That’s a different story.

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  • sidjeen
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:30AM

    @ harkol minority pakistan supports terrorists while majority do not support it. hahahha the best joke i heard today.

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  • jack
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Pakistan has become the breeding ground of terrorist….

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  • Bilal
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:14PM

    Hafiz Saeed , so called master mind of mumbai = 10 million dollar bounty
    Narednera Modi, the architect of Gujrat pogroms which killed 2000 Muslims = Cover of Time

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  • Ali
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:43PM

    This editorial serves no purpose.. I don’t know much about Hafiz saeed but but his organization did in the aftermath of earthquaks and floods, no other organization did, neither did US, rather they were busy killing people in Afghanistan and Iraq… Obama’s bounty price would be $100 billion.. oh yeah and indians should be banned from coming on ET’s site.. Idiots!

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  • Jack
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:11PM

    The real target of this decision is not Mr.Saeed but it is the upcoming meeting between Mr.Zardari and Mr.Singh. India Pakistan relations are improving and this is something Uncle Sam has difficulty digesting.

    One can only hope that leaders in Pakistan and India are mature enough to read Washington’s script and try not to derail the nacent progress that has been made in dialogue.

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Apr 4, 2012 - 3:29PM

    @Bilal who writes “Narednera Modi, the architect of Gujrat pogroms which killed 2000 Muslims = Cover of Time”

    YOU ARE WRONG.

    Architect of Gujrath riots = 60 Muslims who bruned down the train.
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  • Masood
    Apr 4, 2012 - 5:28PM

    It is more important to research on someone rather to pass the information and making someone guilty. The fact is Law of Pakistan make him innocent after a trial. There are Principles and we started humiliations since we run away from them. The only way to have reputation is to stick to Principles and stand to our point with convincing power.

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  • sohaib
    Apr 4, 2012 - 5:47PM

    The editor fails to mention that Hafiz Saeed was exonerated by the courts in Pakistan. Just media trial does not make someone a criminal. Also lies after lies does not make lie a truth.
    If Al-Qaeda links are talked about, why the editor fails to mention links US had with all these terror outfits?
    Handing over Hafeez Saeed will not make Pakistan acceptable. Its a nonsensical idea. Recommend

  • Mia Bashir
    Apr 4, 2012 - 6:39PM

    So why not put reward on heads of George Bush and Tony Bliar for the Murders of thousands of innocent Iraqis/Afghani’s, There is no real justice in the world, Might is right….

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  • Abbas from the US
    Apr 4, 2012 - 7:33PM

    For Pakistan to prosper it has to return to its original roots as outlined by its founding fathers led by Jinnah.
    All self proclaimed jihadi leaders who think they can lead Muslims in Pakistan to percieved Mughal glory have only a most severe disaster to offer to ignorant people. If Hafez Saeed is not taken out by the US, Pakistan is headed into the abyss.

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  • MyHeartSpeaks
    Apr 4, 2012 - 9:47PM

    He just appeared on media and told his whereabouts…. what do you say now?? I would say he is real ‘Mard-e-Haq’..

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  • Balma
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:35PM

    Editors at ET, just like other burgers in Pakistan, pretend that they are writing for people in Chicago’s Herald Tribune or something like that. People in Chicago are basically ignorant about Pakistan and will believe anything.
    ET editors and writeres, I know you are burgers, but can you clarify that when you say ‘we’ do you mean Paksitanis or the people in US?
    I am surprised by the attitude of Tribune editors and writers. Itnaa bhee kyaa gir jaanaa chand dollaro’n kay liyae? Stop pretending you are americans writing for americans.
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