Action against JUD and Hafiz Saeed

The government once again moved in against JUD and its leader Hafiz Saeed. Punjab government has placed Hafiz Saeed under house arrest. The names of all the main leaders of JUD also placed on Exit Control List (ECL) to prevent them traveling abroad. Their passports and CNICs have also been blocked.

This is not the first time that action against Hafiz Saeed and his close associates have been taken. Musharaf regime took the similar action after the 9/11 and banned the then Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT). Soon after the ban, Hafiz Saeed started work as JUD and continue to organise their activities.

Some people are opposing this action because they think that the government took this action tom please US and India. They are arguing that JUD and its chief is not involved in any sort of anti-Pakistan and anti state activities. They are also not involved in any kind of violence and terrorism inside the country. They view this action as a surrender to the increased American pressure. Some see Chinese connection in this action. So the conspiracy theorists are out in full force and all sort of conspiracy theories are available in the market.

The opposition from some right wing writers, politicians and religious leaders is understandable because they saw this action as a clear sign for a change in the policy. The change in the state policy will shrink the space for Jihad culture and organisations. LeT remained associated with Kashmiri armed struggle and India developed this habit to blame LeT and its chief for any violence or terrorist act in India.

It is true that LeT or JUD never involved in any violent or terrorist activity in the country. But it did played key role in promoting the jihadist culture and extreme right wing ideas in the country. The presence of armed jihadi groups is an encouragement to other people to take arms and organise militant groups. The organisations like LeT and JuD was developed in the period when Pakistani state promoted jihad and extremist ideology as a state policy. If the Pakistani state is claiming that it has abandoned that policy and not encouraging such ideology any more then the presence of such organisations create doubts about the claims.

If the activists and leaders of JuD wants to take part in the political or social activities in accordance with the law then they should be allowed to do so. It is better for Hafiz Saeed to disassociate himself from the active political and social life to avoid unnecessary controversies. His long association with jihad will continue to provide an excuse to both India and US to malign Pakistan.

It is also important to dismantle all jihadi infrastructure in the country to give clear and loud message to everyone that Pakistan is a normal and democratic country. It will become clear that what ever is happening in Afghanistan and India is internal problem. There are many extremist groups operating within Afghanistan and India that are home grown and based inside these countries. They were using Hafiz Saeed and JuD as an escape goat to divert the attention from the real threat that exist. Hindu extremist groups does exist in India and they are involved in all sort of violent activities against religious minorities and political opponents.

India is going through the same process as Pakistan went to through in 1980s. Indian state is patronising the Hindu extremist groups and using them for their political interests. India will pay the price for this reactionary policy. Afghanistan also facing many internal problems including Taliban insurgency. The Afghan government has failed to address these issues and now blame Pakistan for their own problems.

 The Pakistani government should draw out a long time strategy to integrate the former and present militants    into the society and to provide them an opportunity to live normal life. The administrative actions alone are not going to address this complicated problem. JuD has hundreds of trained caders and thousands of active supporters. Their energy and passion should be used in a more constructive way. They should be given a chance to become responsible citizens.

In the presence of a well trained and one of the best army in the world, Pakistan does not need jihadi organisations or private militias to defend the country. Pakistani army is fully capable to defend the country. It is time to end the era of militancy and militarisation of the society.

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