Terrorist Hafiz Saeed is likely to stir the politics in Pakistan once again. Hafiz Saeed was the mastermind of the November 26, 2008, terrorist attack on Mumbai. On Thursday, India demanded that he be handed over to its custody. As expected, there was a backlash in Pakistan. India and Pakistan do not have a bilateral treaty on extradition of criminals. Therefore, the External Affairs Ministry of Pakistan has made it clear that it is not possible to hand over Hafiz Saeed or anyone else to India.
Hafiz Saeed is currently lodged in jail in Pakistan. He has been sentenced to 5 and 35 years in prison for the two counts respectively. Hafiz Saeed was on the loose after the attack on Mumbai. He stayed in Lahore and gave inflammatory speeches against India. The United States of America (USA) announced a reward of $10 million for Hafiz Saeed. However, the Pakistani government did not dare to touch him.
Hafiz Saeed was first arrested in 2016. Economic sanctions were imposed on Pakistan at that time. Pakistan’s trade was restricted. Pakistan arrested Hafiz Saeed only to avoid financial loss. Eventually, the court also sentenced him. Pakistan would not have taken this step had it not been for economic pressure.
This is not the first time that Pakistan has extended support and protection to terrorists. In the 1980’s, gun-toting, jihad-proclaimed terrorists roamed the streets of Pakistan freely. Pakistani terrorists gained strength in Kashmir in 1989 after the local Brahmins were brutalized and driven out. Around that time, after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan, there was a kind of front between Afghani terrorists and Pakistani terrorists. This lead lasted for a long time. During this period, Pakistan became the global center of terror activities.
Pakistani terrorists were most happy when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2022. However, this happiness was short-lived. The Taliban did not help Pakistan. On the contrary, seeing how the supporters of Pakistani terrorists are being eliminated, experts in Pakistan have started to express doubts that the Taliban in Afghanistan may be behind this.
The embers of self-created terrorism are now turning on Pakistan itself. Hafiz Saeed is an excuse. This is another move by India to expose the face of Pakistani terrorism to the world. The general elections in Pakistan will end in February 2024. After that, the next phase of the game will begin.