Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed today made his first public appearance after he was freed from house arrest and led a rally here to launch a country-wide campaign against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief, who carries a bounty of USD 10 million, was released from a 10-month-long house arrest on November 24 by the Pakistan government. Saeed said the Defence Council Pakistan (DCP) will send its delegations to Muslim countries and convince them not to open their embassies in Jerusalem as he led the rally outside the JuD headquarters in Chauburji after the Friday prayers. The banned JuD, believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed, is an active member of the DCP.
“Any Muslim country if opens its consulate in Jerusalem should be barred from opening their embassies in the Muslim countries,” Saeed suggested. He said the Muslim countries should unite against the US. Saeed said the Pakistani government should immediately convene a session of joint parliament to discuss the Jerusalem announcement and make a strategy regarding it. “Since Pakistan is a nuclear power it should lead the Muslim world. It should convene an Islamic summit and give a befitting response to the Trump administration,” he said, adding that the world should also raise the issue of Kashmir along with Palestine. Saeed has called a meeting of the DCP to discuss the Jerusalem’s capital announcement of Trump.
In a controversial announcement, Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, reversing decades of US and international policy on the holy city. A number of JuD workers participated in the rally, chanting anti-US and anti-India slogans. “We will gather the people and launch an organised campaign against the US on the issue,” he said. A Lahore High Court’s Judicial Review Board unanimously ordered Saeed’s release on November 24 after the government failed to provide any evidence related to terrorism or otherwise before it. After his release, Saeed vowed to continue fighting for Kashmiris. He had alleged that the US, on India’s request, was putting pressure Pakistan to detain him.
India had expressed outrage over Pakistan’s decision to release Saeed, calling it an attempt by Islamabad to mainstream proscribed terrorists and a reflection of its continuing support to non-state actors. Saeed has now filed the petition to de-list him from the UN list of designated terrorists. The JuD was declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.