Geelani expresses displeasure over ban on Hafiz Saeed’s group

All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman, Syed Ali Geelani Saturday expressed displeasure over Pakistan government’s decision to ban Jamat-ud-Da’wah led by India’s ‘most wanted’ Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

The Pakistan government recently said it has banned several outfits in the country including Haqqani Network, a Taliban affiliate responsible for dozens of high profile attacks in Afghanistan against US and its allies, and Jamat-ud-Da’wah led by Saeed, who is former Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief, a Pakistan based pan-Islamist militant outfit operating in Kashmir region since mid nineties.

Geelani, who is a staunch pro-Pakistan leader of Kashmir, said the situation in Pakistan is saddening. “There is an environment of terror,” Geelani said over phone from New Delhi, referring to bloody insurgency waged by Pakistan Taliban.

“The situation since December 16 (when TTP attacked an army school in Peshawar killing over 140 people mostly children were killed), last year, changed the country,” he said. “And, all the steps which government of Pakistan took after December 16 to eliminate terrorism from the country, can’t be termed right,” the octogenarian leader said.

Explaining it further, he said: “The Pakistan government established military courts in the country and starting random hangings. But, it is not right step since all of those hanged aren’t involved in the terrorism. And, not all those who have been awarded death sentence are involved in terror activities.”

The veteran pro-freedom leader said the Jamat-ud-Da’wah is a charity organization and is ‘doing a commendable humanitarian’ work in Pakistan. “They have a bigger role in Pakistan. The organization is doing charity work like Jama’at-e-Islami and Edhi Foundation do,” he said.

Geelani, who has several times lauded Nawaz Sharief-led government over Kashmir policy, said imposing ban on Jamat-ud-Da’wah – which is accused of being a shadow of group of LeT – would ‘back fire’.

“Pakistan should not target groups like JuD. A cautious should be maintained and the ban isn’t in the interest of Pakistan,” he said.

Lashing out at Pakistan Taliban, the APHC chief said there is no ‘justification’ for the Islamist group’s insurgency in Pakistan. “Attacking government installations, killing soldiers, bombing schools, raiding airports and killing people in the name of fighting for the imposition of Sharia’h has absolutely no justification,” he said.

“But,” he said, “Balance should be maintained by the government of Pakistan while taking on terror.”

The JuD chief has been long accused by India of orchestrating deadly 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. The charge has been denied by Saeed, who has $10 million dollar bounty on his head. The Pakistan government said it has also imposed travel restrictions on JuD chief.