Days after he was placed under house arrest, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed has said he would have no quarrel with India if it gave up control of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a video interview that was apparently conducted at his home in Lahore, the man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks reiterated his call for the Pakistan government and political parties to declare 2017 the “year of Kashmir”.
The interview was conducted by actor Hamza Ali Abbasi, who delivered a lengthy monologue on why he did not believe Saeed is a terrorist. The video, which was not aired by any TV news channels, was posted on YouTube on February 6 by the actor.
“The people who live in India, I have no conflict, differences or issues with them. I only say that you leave Kashmir, where you are killing people and blinding them. You are involved in abuses and have captured them against their will,” Saeed said, speaking in Urdu.
Saeed, who now leads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah that has been declared a front for the LeT by the US and the UN, was responding to questions on whether he hated Indians and wanted to “conquer” India.
“I say that you leave Kashmir and sit, and we will have no quarrel with India,” he added.
Watch | Video interview of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed after his house arrest
Saeed also sought to portray the JuD as a charity organisation that had completed several welfare programmes for Pakistan’s Hindus in Sindh province and even offered aid to India during natural disasters.
He also appeared to confirm reports that the JuD had rebranded itself as the Tehreek-e-Azadi Kashmir after the government cracked down on him and the group.
“Instead of using our organisation’s name, we (will work in) the name (of) Tehreek-e-Azadi Kashmir,” he said.
Saeed also called on the government and organisations to join his group’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue. “I want to say that the issue of Kashmir, which has become a public movement, demands that we help them (Kashmiris),” he said.
“We asked the government and organisations to declare 2017 the year of Kashmir (and) help the Kashmiris to boost their confidence.” He said all Pakistanis should become part of the “collective cause”.
He rejected India’s contention that terrorists sneaking across the Line of Control were fuelling violence in Kashmir, saying that “infiltrators cannot run a movement”.
“Kashmiris are running their indigenous movement and demanding independence,” he said, adding India was portraying him as terrorist to “sabotage the Kashmiri movement”.
Saeed and four aides were placed in “preventive detention” under the Anti-Terrorism Act on January 30. He has also been barred from leaving Pakistan. The JuD also plans to mount a legal challenge to Saeed’s detention.
India has demanded “credible action” against Saeed and the JuD, including bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.