Govt Indecisive about Dealing JuD
On 17 Oct, an official of Punjab home department told a Provincial Review Board (PRB) comprising judges of the Lahore High Court that keeping Jamaatud Dawa’s (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four aides under detention was critical for the maintenance of law and order. The board was hearing a Punjab government application seeking extension in the detention of Mr Saeed and his four aides.
1 Subsequently, on 19 Oct, PBR extended for one month the detention of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, but turned down the request to further extend house arrest of his four aides after an in-camera hearing in which counsels for the government and the JuD presented their arguments. Abdul Sattar Sahil, a law officer, appeared on behalf the Punjab Home Department and said the Punjab government detained Hafiz Saeed and his companions on the federal government’s directives after the UN placed the JuD on its list of terrorist outfits. He claimed that Saeed’s release might create law and order situation and requested the board to extend the detention of the JuD leaders for security reasons. Saeed’s counsel strongly opposed any continued detention and said the detention order was passed with purely mala fide intention. He also questioned the provincial law officer’s claim that the government was implementing the UN resolution, adding that the Supreme Court and the LHC had given several judgments that “Pakistan is a sovereign and independent state and local laws shall apply to its citizens”. The board later accepted the government’s plea for extending detention of Saeed but turned the request for a similar extension in the detention of other JuD officials – Prof Zafar Iqbal, Mufti Abdur Rehman Abid, Maulana Ubaidullah Obaid and Qazi Kashif Niaz.
2 The government is quite perplexed with regards to dealing with JuD and its leaders including its head as there are diametrically opposing internal and external pressures. Externally, government does not want to be seen being soft on Kashmir based militant outfits (though JuD claims not to be associated with militancy and that it has no links with banned Laskher-e-Taiba).
Internally, JuD enjoys good reputation for its humanitarian activities and has huge support base among the masses with right tilt. In held Kashmir, militant outfit LeT enjoys popular support as torch bearer of voice of oppressed Kashmiris and Pakistani government fears that taking action JuD would be seen negatively by population in Kashmir causing delineation from Pakistan. On the other hand, voices are increasing internally demanding indiscriminate action against all militant outfits including those operating in Kashmir or Afghanistan. Another worst fear for the government is ideological underpinnings of JuD/ LeT of being Ahl-e-Hadith (Salafi) school of thought as elements from these groups would naturally join Daesh/IS if government opts for hard measures as Daesh has so far attracted Salafist the most. Thus the government is facing a serious challenge to deal with JuD. This indecisiveness at strategic level creating problems for the government at operational level and the situation will remain till the time a decision is not made strategic level.
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