The curious case of Hafiz Saeed

Published: April 6, 2012
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The irony is that in announcing the bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the US has ended up adding to his fame.

The irony is that in announcing the bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the US has ended up adding to his fame.

When a bounty is placed on a person, especially by the world’s sole superpower, the normal reaction is to hunker down and stay quiet for a while. Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) leader Hafiz Saeed has done anything but that. When the US announced that it would give $10 million for any information that can be used to bring Saeed to trial, the head of the JuD decided to give a press conference in Rawalpindi, which aired on several news channels, among other things, he said that he was in Lahore if anybody needed to get in touch with him. Clearly, America has mishandled the situation because later in the day on April 4, it had to issue a statement saying that the bounty was not for the man’s whereabouts but for information that would lead to his conviction. Already seen by many people as a symbol of defiance against India and the West, the bounty comes as a boon for his image of a leader of the resistance against the Americans. The irony is that in announcing the bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the US has ended up adding to his fame, especially among his loyal constituency.

The fact is that the Pakistan government, and the international community as a whole, has been trying to nab the JuD chief for some time, but without getting any of the charges against him to stick. Twice, the government placed him under house arrest only for the courts to release him due to lack of evidence. The UN has also declared the Lashkar-e-Taiba a terrorist organisation but that has had little effect in Pakistan, where the group has been able to maintain plausible deniability simply by changing its name.

That said, the bounty does, however, increase pressure on Pakistan to deal decisively with the JuD chief. Presumably, the only way forward would be for the government to make a case against Mr Saeed that holds up to judicial scrutiny. After all, when the JuD chief taunts the US government to contact him in Lahore — since he is a free man in Pakistan — he is also thumbing his nose at the country’s  civilian government which has tried and failed in arresting him for alleged involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Salim Ansari
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:17AM

    Heading sounds like the name of latest Sherlock Holmes episode.

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  • adam
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:38AM

    Hafiz has learned something from the OBL that even if he chooses caves, they will get him. A wise decision from Hafiz for not fleeing in Burkah and deep into the tunnel, Instead he chose to enjoy last few days of his life in some nice place where mullahs go.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Apr 6, 2012 - 3:13AM

    It maybe a curious case for ET but not for most Indians.

    Here’s is a terrorist, who is backed by the establishments. This man has full support of the Pakistan’s most powerful establishments, which in fact were instrumental in the creation of LET.

    Why would he worry?

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  • Bombay Dude
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:38AM

    Quite a sensible article. USA did made a dumb and miscalculated move. They have still not understand after years of “friendship” on how Pakistan and Pakistani functions. I just hope I am wrong.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:12AM

    The superpower has come a cropper. In its effort to please, the US man on a mission to India announced it in India of this Bounty. It sounds more like All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again. In our case Humpty-Dumpty, good old USA has lost its marbles. Is this a double entendre that we need to solve???

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  • Ajeet Tiwari
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:07AM

    Us has played a double diabolical game in announcing bounty on Hafeez Saeed. First, they are itched and feel disgruntled by Pakistan’s denial to let them resume NATO supply chain and also irritated by saeed’s constant anti-America hate spewing speeches. They want Pakistan to break under pressure of this bounty to arrest Hafeez saeed who has been unequivocally standing against NATO supply chain. Resumption of supply chain would also help them in retreat from Afghanistan in 2014. Second. the reason why they tagged this announcement with 26\11 by claiming a close contact between Osama and Saeed right till former’s funeral is that they want India to take a soft stand on Iran. It’s high time both India and Pakistan stand together and decipher that Us is in act of dangling. “Dangling carrot to India and reddish to Pakistan.”

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  • huzaifa
    Apr 6, 2012 - 9:33AM

    An excellent punch line,”The irony is that in announcing the bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the US has ended up adding to his fame, especially among his loyal constituency”. Some time one wonders that US is playing with which side as more often, she scores a hit on own ally’s goal post. Well, as for Hafiz sahib is concerned, he has become media savvy which is detrimental to the cause and business he is in. I think he has sacrificed the original cause for his broader dream and for moneymaking ventures out side his mandate.

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  • Feroz
    Apr 6, 2012 - 9:36AM

    Pakistan has gained global notoriety for all the wrong reasons. Now by throwing its weight behind a notorious character like Hafiz Saeed it is signalling to the world it does not wish to make the changes necessary to become a civilized nation. The World may simply wash its hands off and allow the country to destroy itself through violence. Pakistan is going through a psychotic illness which the patient does not recognize.
    Allah will give it what it deserves !

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  • Tired
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Hafiz should be arrested, tried and sentenced by the Pakistani government. Why do we let others punish our criminals? Isn’t it shameful. It’s a tacit admission by the government that we are not capable of handling our own filth, please clean it out for us.

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  • Ismail
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:38PM

    It is just an another attempt to please India, otherwise US has noting to do with Hafiz Saeed. US official made stated announcement in India, which clearly shows that they want to pressurize pakistan regarding NATO supply issue… lets see what happens next.

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  • faheema
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:04PM

    During 90’s many drug barons were arrested and consigned to America. Resultantly the grip of drug Mafia on political, social affairs weakened. Benazir Bhutto Government which took this decision, was well aware, these barons cannot be tried in local courts. Terrorist organisations with licence to ruthlessly kill and go scot-free, are far more dreaded than drug barons. Idea of arresting and trying Hafiz Saeed in local courts is just naivety and practically bear nothing except humiliation for Government.

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  • Dr V. C. Bhutani
    Apr 6, 2012 - 6:24PM

    Most humbly and respectfully, Sir, I beg to submit that The Express Tribune has done a wonderful job in publishing today about half a dozen reports and write-ups on several subjects which have to do with the prospects of Pakistan as a State. To my way of thinking, this is the first step towards taking remedial action, which of course only Pakistan’s people and leaders can take. As a student of international relations I have been alarmed by the freedom with which Hafiz Saeed has been able to move around and speak for a lot of time. He makes no secret of his objective that he and others of his way of thinking shall stop at nothing short of the destruction of the US, Israel, and India, and thereby pave the way for the triumph of Islam over other traditions. One wonders whether speeches in which he said such things were not enough for a court of law to consider him disturber of the public peace. But courts in Pakistan have thrown out evidence that Pakistan’s governments put up in support of such charges that they brought against him. Hafiz Saeed is right in claiming that no court has held him guilty of anything. But the predicament before the people of Pakistan is much larger: it appertains to everything that Pakistan as a State is expected to do for its people. Here, naturally, the people of Pakistan are the final judge. Only they can call their government to account. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 6 Apr 2012, 1953 IST

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:15PM

    On the one hand, Pakistanis claim that India is USA’s slave and USA is our master.

    On the other hand, Pakistanis claim that USA is pleasing India and USA is under pressure from India.

    Oye!! make up your mind. India is supporting Baloch seperatism and also killing Baloch! India is supporting TTP which wants to wage war on India!

    Looks like the most expensive commodity in Pakistan is logic.

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  • sohaib
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:28PM

    @Dr V. C. Bhutani: mind your own business. Hafiz Saeed has done fantastic job on the ground for the poor and the needy of the country. If there is flood or earthquake in India, you can ask JuD for help. They will definitely provide better help than your govt could even imagine. They are very well organised and provide great relief to millions of poor in India which number a lot more than in Pakistan.
    His ‘terror’, if you could call it that, is directed towards liberation of Kashmir, the territory occupied by your country. Mr VC, as learned man you should be aware of it, Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Apr 7, 2012 - 7:39PM

    @sohaib:
    Maybe what you say is true. But for us Indians. he is responsible for the death of 160 innocent people and we will not rest till we see him brought to justice,

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  • ashok
    Apr 7, 2012 - 8:24PM

    @sohaib: mind your own business. NARENDRA MODI has done fantastic job on the ground for the poor and the needy of the country…..”

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