A senior United States administration official said Washington has concerns about terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed contesting the Pakistan’s elections in 2018, PTI reported. “It’s a group that the United States government considers to be a terror organisation,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was quoted as saying.
On December 2, Saeed had confirmed that his Jamaat-ud-Dawa will contest the general elections in Pakistan, and said that the decision to enter politics was aimed at highlighting “the Kashmir cause internationally”.
He had said that his outfit will contest the polls under the banner of the Milli Muslim League. But Pakistan’s Election Commission had in September refused to recognise the Milli Muslim League as a political party. It had also warned candidates from using the front’s name in election campaigns.
Saeed, a United Nations-designated terrorist, was freed from house arrest on November 24 after an order from the Lahore High Court. The United States and India reacted sharply against the verdict. India alleges that Saeed was the mastermind of the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
“It [Saeed’s outfit] is considered a foreign terror organisation by the US government for a reason, and for a good reason,” Nauert said, adding: “I hope that they [Pakistan] will do the right thing.” Nauert said the US has a $10 million [approximately Rs 64 lakh] Reward for Justice programme for Saeed. “We would certainly have concerns about him running for office.”
On December 3, Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had called the Lashkar-e-Taiba a “great NGO” that has done “good work” in Kashmir, and said he was open to forming a political alliance with it. He said that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa were unnecessarily being “pushed to the wall”.
“This is our country,” Musharraf had said. “We know best about our internal situation and who are the good people and who are the bad people in our country. No one should dictate us on who to arrest.”