Hafiz Saeed is not Nawaz Sharif but as a citizen of Pakistan he has the same rights
Punjab Home Department has released a report stating that two Pakistanis are the next target of RAW, India’s intelligence agencies. The first gentleman, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, is known to the world as the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. The second man, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is known to the world as head of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), organisations blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. JUD and FIF are also placed on the watch list of the Government of Pakistan and are affiliated with another banned organisation called Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The report suggests that RAW intends to portray the planned attack on Sharif as retaliatory attacks by Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). It is interesting to note that LeJ and PML-N have had a very hostile history. LeJ has already attempted assassinating Nawaz Sharif while he was prime minister in 1999. LeJ recently also accepted responsibility of the assassination of Punjab Home Minister, Lt Col (R) Shuja Khanzada, describing it as revenge for Malik Ishaq. TTP also has a history of attacking government officials and military personnel and in view of Zarb-e-Azab they are known to get desperate and carry out the most appalling attacks conceivable. The attack on Army Public School, Peshawar, is a great indication of that. So both terror groups have a motive and history to target the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Interestingly, earlier this year in February, the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of Pakistan, issued a warning to all provinces of joint attacks by LeJ and TTP. So there are legitimate reasons to believe that a nexus exists between LeJ and TTP and the two can potentially carry out an attack on the prime minister.
RAW’s attempt to portray TTP as the culprit is redundant because any attack by TTP on the prime minister would automatically be deemed by our security agencies as an Indian conspiracy. In 2012, NCMC has released a circular claiming that CIA and RAW are funding TTP through Afganistan’s Riyast-i-Amoor-o-Amanat-i-Milliyah (RAAM) and National Directorate of Security (NDS) to carry out attacks in Pakistan.
In relation to Hafiz Saeed, one is more inclined to think of RAW staging an assassination in view of India’s claims of JUD’s direct involvement in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. Furthermore, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which enjoys Saeed’s support, has been engaged in violent combat against the Indian military in Jammu and Kashmir. For the Indian media and masses, Saeed has in many ways surpassed Dawood Ibrahim as public enemy number one.
However, Saeed is also currently reported to be a potential target of ISIS. No direct confrontation is reported between JUD and any other banned outfit in Pakistan but Saeed has been addressing public rallies urging government to crack down on ISIS and hence is making enemies besides RAW as well.
It cannot be emphasised enough that under any circumstances the security of the prime minister must be ensured specially at a stage when the country is engaged in a war against militants. The state cannot appear weak or ill prepared. An attack on the elected prime minister would be a blow to the nation’s morale.
On the other hand, though it is not fitting to equate Hafiz Saeed to Nawaz Sharif, but like Sharif, Saeed is also a citizen of Pakistan. Under the laws of this country and the constitution we so claim to hold dear, force can be used against a Pakistani citizen only by the law enforcement agencies and that too on orders of the Court or the government of Pakistan. If any Pakistani deems Saeed to be a terrorist then the onus is on our judicial system to punish him rather than hope for foreign intelligence agencies to take him out. Saeed and JuD are not the only the examples of the non-implementation of the National Action Plan.
Those who support public hangings and want every terrorist and sympathiser to die a painful death, need to reconsider what values they are propagating. Craving justice is not the same thing as craving blood.
For me an attack on Saeed by RAW would be more condemnable than America’s violation of our airspace and sovereignty to kill Bin Laden, who was wanted in Pakistan as well and who was not a Pakistani citizen.
If Bin Laden was allowed a safe house in Abbottabad then my grievances are against the Pakistani state, which has a legacy of mucking up things with flawed policies but that does not justify American interference. Though, many have claimed that Pakistan was in on it all along and the Obama administration was too selfish to share the credit for killing the world’s most wanted man. Similarly, if Hafiz Saeed is allowed to operate freely then my grievances are again against the Pakistani state but that would not justify Indian or any foreign interference at any cost.
One can only hope that our law enforcement agencies can do a proper job of effectively protecting those citizens which should be protected by law, and indicting and convicting those who deserve it under the law.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.