Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, on Saturday confirmed that his Jamaat-ud-Dawa will contest the general elections in Pakistan in 2018. He said the decision to enter politics was aimed at helping to “highlight the Kashmir cause internationally”, The Express Tribune reported.

“This is the right time to enter the country’s politics to persuade the world community by establishing an independent foreign desk to highlight the Kashmir cause,” he said.

The JuD will contest the polls under the banner of the Milli Muslim League, which has not been registered by the country’s Election Commission yet, PTI reported. “The Milli Muslim League is planning to contest next year’s general elections,” Saeed said at the Jamaat-ud-Dawa headquarters in Chauburji. “I also dedicate 2018 for the Kashmiris struggling for freedom.”

Saeed, who was released from house arrest on November 24, also told the Pakistani government that “back channel diplomacy only caused harm to the Kashmir cause”. “I want to tell India that I will continue to support Kashmiris no matter what kind of difficulties are there,” he said. “India wants us to stop raising our voice for the Kashmiris. It is building pressure on the Pakistani government.”