Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, while responding to this newspaper’s queries from Islamabad, said that Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani had spoken to him a few days before the latter was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces.

Q: Did you ever speak to Burhan Wani? If yes, what was the nature of the talk?

A: Burhan was a Kashmiri and held me in high regard. He called me a few days before the encounter to say that it was his last wish to talk to me before he was martyred. He sought prayers for himself and Kashmir’s freedom. This was the only contact he had.

Q: What is the purpose behind JuD supporting the “Kashmir caravan” when we all know that the trucks in this “caravan” will never be able to enter Kashmir?

A: The purpose is clear, we have told the Kashmiri people that they are not alone. This caravan is a display of solidarity with the Kashmiri people and a message to the world that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the world cannot brush it off as an internal issue of India. The caravan will go to Srinagar, it’s just a matter of time. The struggle of the Kashmiri people has reached new heights. Burhan is the face of freedom now.

Q: Are you working on realigning your priorities? From a terrorist to a social worker to a politician?

A: I was never a terrorist. It’s a problem with Indian perception that has been affected by arrogance and lust of regional power that is depriving people of their basic rights and when they demand it, they become terrorists.

Q: The atrocities that are taking place in Balochistan are well documented. Why are you silent on Balochistan? Doesn’t it amount to “hypocrisy”?

A: JuD has constructed houses, built wells and provided relief to the Baloch people throughout their difficult times. The parallels drawn by the Indian media about Balochistan with Kashmir is far away from reality. Balochistan has been together in protesting against Indian atrocities in Kashmir. Security problem in Balochistan has been due to Indian interference and RAW. Kulbhushan Jhadav and the likes of him are on the run. We are providing relief to the Baloch people, their confidence in Pakistan has been restored and we are together with the Kashmiris in their freedom struggle whereas India has nothing to do with both. India should stop interference in Balochistan and withdraw forces from Kashmir. Sending explosives and agents in Balochistan and pellets and more troops in Kashmir won’t simply work for India anymore.

Q: On the one hand the “separatist” leaders of Kashmir ask the Kashmiri youth to shun education and career and fight for “revolution” in Kashmi r, but then they make sure that their own children get good education and jobs?

A: The (separatist) leaders, their families in Kashmir and the common youth are all united for Kashmir’s freedom from India. India should focus on giving Kashmiris their rights instead of such childish narratives. Kashmiris are collectively fighting Indian occupation. Kashmiris are on the road defying Indian occupation and so are we, waking up the world. Moreover, those people who migrated to Pakistan are being looked after by Pakistan and their children have the right to acquire quality education. India on one hand deprives them of their right to freedom and on the other hand criticises if Pakistan cares for them. This should stop.

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