KARACHI: Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed believes suicide attacks are a logical reaction to drone strikes, because no one is answerable for or has explained the ‘bloodshed’ in the tribal areas.
Additionally, Saeed blamed ‘Indian lobbies’ and ‘the Pentagon’ for what he said are trying to spread the perception that drone strikes take place with the approval of Pakistan’s government.
Vague answers and oft-repeated allegations formed the major part of Saeed’s conversation with reporters at a press conference in Karachi on Saturday.
Saeed is in the city to overlook arrangements for the Difaa-e-Pakistan Council’s event on February 12, which will be the third in a series by a coalition of 40 religious and political groups.
Saeed declared that the event would be a ‘historic one’ and would attract people from all political and religious parties, ethnic groups and religions.
“We will invite the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and other religious and political parties,” he said.
The event’s main aim is to protest Nato attacks in Pakistan and the government’s move towards granting India the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status.
“The MFN status to India is a dangerous economic weapon being used as a weapon of war,” the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) leader said.
Partnership with the US
“We always opposed this partnership with the US that was formed after 9/11. We said that this goes against our fundamental beliefs and the teachings of the Holy Quran and Islam, and that the result will not be in Pakistan’s favour. This strategic partnership has cost Pakistan dearly.”
He also hit out at the democratic government for ‘not changing policy’ when it was voted into power. He said that the damages incurred were far greater, including a spike in drone and suicide attacks.
He alleged that the, “US did not just come here to capture Afghanistan but to [en]force its agenda on Pakistan. It opposes the Two-Nation theory and also tried to drag Pakistan into this war.”
The JuD chief said that its demand is for Pakistan to immediately disassociate itself from this war.
Nato supply routes
Referring to recommendations made by the Parliamentary committee on National Security, Saeed said they were only meant to “pave the way for Nato supply routes to be reopened, and these efforts are to give US access to Pakistan’s land and air routes.”
The JuD leader propounded on his theory that reopening Nato supply routes would lead to drone strikes, and suicide attacks would follow. “The people in the tribal areas are being killed and no one is even asking about them. What has the government done for them, why have they never raised the point of drone strikes? When people see this bloodshed, there is a reaction and they can be exploited by some groups.”
He declined to elaborate on what he expects from the military, given the role it plays in Pakistan’s foreign policy and its relationship with the US. “The military’s role is to defend Pakistan. Wars are not fought by armies, they are fought by nations. If the government is weak, instead of blaming the military they should step up and act.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.