Members of the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) on Thursday declared that the protection of Hafiz Saeed and Abdul Rehman Makki was the responsibility of the government because “[they] are citizens of Pakistan”.
The US on Monday announced a $10 million reward for the capture or information leading to the capture of Saeed who is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant organisation, suspected of carrying out the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008.
Representatives of the 14 member parties of the DPC were speaking at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club where they resolved to continue the activities of the council according to schedule, “regardless of the bounty”. They also announced that they will take out protest rallies on Friday (today).
A joint communiqué read out by Maulana Ameer Hamza, a Jamatud Dawa leader and convener of Tehreek Hurmat-i-Rasool, demanded that the president cancel his trip to India. The Indian hockey team is not ready to come to Pakistan so why does President Zardari wish to go there, Hamza asked.
President Zardari will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch on April 8 before visiting Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer.
The council members called the bounty “a pressure tactic” to get NATO supply routes reopened. However, they said, the DPC would not let that happen. Hamza, in reply to a question, said that Saeed and he had consulted legal advisers and were considering their options, which include taking the matter to courts in Pakistan and moving the International Court of Justice.
The statement described America’s announcement as “disrespectful” of Pakistani courts. The DPC leaders called the bounty an American attempt at pleasing Israel and India. The US should give whatever proof they have against Saeed, the statement said, adding that Saeed was willing to surrender to Pakistani courts.
Besides Hamza, DPC members at the press conference included the Pakistan Ulema Council chairman Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the Awami Muslim League leader Mian Abdul Qadeer, JUI-Samiul Haq’s Asif Makhdoom, Dr Farid Paracha of the Jamaat-i-Islami, JUI-F’s Chaudhry Muhammad Abu Bakr and Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamat leader Shamsur Rehman.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.