Hafiz Saeed founded LeT in 1990, was Pak university prof till 1999 too
Hafiz Saeed, who has been designated a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council and the United States, had managed to keep his job as a professor in Lahore’s engineering university for more than a decade after founding the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
According to Pakistan’s letter that backed Hafiz Saeed’s request for release of funds frozen on the UNSC’s directive, Saeed had retired from Lahore’s University of Engineering and Technology as an assistant professor in 1999. He had joined the university in 1974.
“Upon his retirement in 1999, he had completed a pensionable service of 25 years and (was) drawing a pension of (Rs) 45,700 through his bank account,” Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations wrote to the UNSC panel.
The pension was stopped only after the United Nations Security Council designated Hafiz Saeed as a global terrorist in December 2008 and froze his bank accounts. The document revealed that the Pakistan government, which funds his pension, owed him Rs 11 lakh in outstanding pension payments that couldn’t be deposited in his bank accounts.
That Hafiz Saeed continued to be on the rolls of the university till as late as 1999, an Indian official said, was known in India’s security establishment. But this is a very rare occasion when Pakistan has admitted as much, the official said.
It is also implies that Pakistan had been crediting pension payments long after Pakistan, the United States and other international groups banned the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In many ways, Indian officials said the overlap - running a terror group and staying on the rolls of a prestigious university - and the pension payments were indicative of Hafiz Saeed’s clout in the Pakistani establishment, military or otherwise.
The UNSC sanctions list documents Lashkar-e-Taiba’s role in carrying out what it described as “numerous terrorist operations against military and civilian targets since 1993”. These include the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which killed over 160 people, the December 2001 attack against the Indian Parliament, and the July 2006 bombing on multiple Mumbai suburban trains.
But in Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed was hardly ever a man on the run. Saeed has been the toast of Pakistan army generals and politicians with intelligence reports indicating time and again his close proximity to politicians and top military commanders.
That is why when US President Donald Trump hailed Hafiz Saeed’s arrest on terror financing charges in July “after a ten year search”, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee promptly rebutted Trump listing the eight times Saeed had been arrested and freed by Pakistan authorities since 2001.
“FYI Pakistan wasn’t searching for him for 10 years. He’s been living freely,” the committee told Trump.