Lahore: In a new twist to electioneering politics in Pakistan, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, fresh from a year-long detention, has announced that his Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) will take part in the next general elections.
Talking to a group of senior columnists at Jamia Qadsia on Saturday, Saeed said that the decision to field his party – which had been placed in an anti-terror watch list in February this year – in the political arena was aimed at helping to “highlight the Kashmir cause internationally”.
He said India was lobbying internationally to ‘malign’ the Kashmir cause and Pakistan’s incumbent government had bowed down to appease New Delhi, reported The Express Tribune.
The JuD chief believed that India “was forcing the Pakistan government to abandon the Kashmir cause which is not possible”.
“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.
During the September by-election in NA-120, a new political party, named Milli Muslim League (MML), had been among the contestants.
The MML is said to have the support of the JuD chief.
Even though the party could not secure significant number of votes, it could act as a force of attrition to deprive the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of significant number of votes in alliance with other rival political groups.
“I firmly believe that after winning elections, MML will be able to work decisively for the Kashmir cause … this is why I support it,” said Saeed.
He vowed to highlight the struggle of Kashmiris by holding conferences, seminars and public meetings.
“No matter what, we will not abandon the Kashmir cause. The government has failed to achieve any breakthrough or help the Kashmiris through its back channel diplomacy,” he said.
Citing Burhan Wani’s example, the JuD chief pointed out that “Kashmir would secure independence only through sacrifices”.
“After Wani’s sacrifice, the Kashmir independence struggle gained momentum,” he maintained.
He claimed that India “forced” the PML-N government to arrest him “when he announced that 2017 would be the year for the Kashmir struggle”.
“They had to release me because they were unable to collect any [incriminating] evidence against me,” he added.
Saeed said, “it was a good omen that Pakistan’s flags were being hoisted in various parts of India, and Indian Muslims distributed sweets after his release.”
“In Pakistan, we are free to continue our humanitarian services,” he said.
The JuD chief appealed that “for the sake of the Kashmir cause, Pakistan Army, the people and the government should think alike”.