Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the Pakistan based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), in an email interview to Abhinandan Mishra of The Sunday Guardian said that he was quoted out of context by the Indian media about warning India of more Pathankot like attacks last week in his speech in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Saeed, who has been designated as an international terrorist by the United Nations, and is one of the most wanted by India for being the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, replied to various questions emailed to him by The Sunday Guardian. Excerpts.
Q. Government of India has stated that it is seeking action against you from the Pakistani government for your recent speech in PoK, in which you warned India of more “Pathankot style attacks”. How would you like to respond to this?
Hafiz Saeed: I believe that my speech in Muzaffarabad was quoted completely out of context and Indian media has given it an angle that serves their own interest. Indian media has always misreported facts related to us and published/aired baseless allegations and propaganda.
I believe, even on this occasion Indian media has violated journalistic norms and ethics and created misperception against us.
Q. In view of the increased friendship between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, there is speculation that organisations like the Lashkar-E-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-E-Mohammad will be “destroyed” in the coming years. What do you say to this?
Hafiz Saeed: We consider the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris as legitimate and rightful, while India is wrongly propagating it as terrorism and applying pressure on Pakistan. The world that believes in human rights and justice is not ready to call the legitimate freedom struggle of Kashmiris as terrorism.
Q: Do you feel that giving freedom to Kashmir is the only way to bring peace in the valley?
Hafiz Saeed: Once India pulls out of Kashmir, peace will prevail throughout the region.
Q: Will you be a part of any dialogue/discussion on how to bring peace in Kashmir if Government of India invites you or agrees to make you a member of the dialogue process?
Hafiz Saeed: If India evacuates its 8 hundred thousand troops from Jammu and Kashmir, and gives the right of self-determination to Kashmiris as per UN resolutions, we are ready to talk anytime.
Q: What is the message that you want to give to the Indian Prime Minister?
Hafiz Saeed: I want to convey my message to Narendra Modi as he talks of friendship and harmony with Pakistan while on the other hand he is funding terrorism inside Pakistan. I advise Modi to shun this double standard and let Pakistan and India live in peace. As far as allegations against us are concerned, then you should know that apex courts of Pakistan have discredited all such allegations terming them as nothing but media propaganda. You should also accept the rulings of our courts.