China asks Pakistan to relocate Hafiz Saeed to a West Asian country
24 May 2018
Amidst mounting international pressure on Islamabad to bring the main culprit in the 26/11 Mumbai massacre Hafiz Saeed to book, Chinese President Xi Jinping is reported to have advised Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaquan Abbasi to relocate the terrorist to some West Asian countries to avoid public glare.
While Islamabad is looking for ways to keep The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader in a low profile engagement within Pakistan, it is increasingly finding it difficult to keep him in the country with lone support from Beijing.
Government lawyers in Pakistan are yet to suggest a way to keep Hafiz Saeed away from the limelight. It is under such circumstances that China has asked Pakistan to explore ways of relocating the JuD chief to some West Asian country.
The Chinese President is reported to have suggested this course of action that would allow Saeed to live a quiet life in a West Asian country to Prime Minister Abbasi on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in China last month.
“At a 35-minute meeting, at least 10 minutes of the discussion dealt with Saeed. The Chinese President was keen on pressing the prime minister to find an early solution to keep Saeed away from the limelight,” The Hindu newspaper quoted a close aide of Abbasi who requested anonymity as saying.
The issue will now be left to the next government as the prime minister will demit office on 31 May after completion of his tenure. The general election will be held in July-end.
The JuD has been accusing the government of taking action against Saeed at the instance of the US and India.
Saeed, who met some journalists over Iftar on Tuesday in Karachi, refused to believe that China would want a ban on him or to see him out of the country. However, he admitted that China would act as a super power and dictate to Pakistan. He denied that any government functionary had met him in recent weeks to discuss the future of the JuD.
Saeed, who has been declared a global terrorist by the United Nations, the US and India, carries a reward of $5 million on his head for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Pakistani authorities last year put him under house arrest for almost nine months but were forced to release him on the orders of the Lahore High Court.
Earlier this year, the JuD was put on the list of banned organisations just before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris. Following the meeting, it was decided to put Pakistan on the grey list for its failure to prevent terror financing.
The JuD was reported by Indonesia after the authorities detected some money channelled through the country by the outfit. Indonesia notified the FATF.
A Presidential Ordinance was issued to freeze all assets of Hafiz Saeed, linked to the JuD and its charity arm, Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation.
Interestingly, the JuD was not put in Schedule 1 of the Anti Terrorism Act under which the leaders of a banned organisation must be arrested. “The federal government is pleased to direct that requisite actions with regard to freezing and taking over of assets (movable, immovable and human resource) associated with the JuD and the FIF shall be taken in pursuance of ordinance No II of 2018,” read a notification of the interior ministry.