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Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed files petition in UN to drop terrorist tag

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder’s petition to the UN was filed through the Lahore-based law firm while he was still under house arrest.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2017 08:44 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Hafiz Saeed,Mumbai attacks,26/11 Mumbai attacks
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed (C) speaks to the media after his release order outside a court in Lahore on November 22, 2017. (AFP File Photo)

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed has moved the United Nations asking that he be removed from the list of designated terrorists, senior Indian government officials said.

Saeed, the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, was put in the list on December 10, 2008 by the United Nations Security Council. The three-day long terror strike at multiple targets in the city between November 26 and 28, 2008 claimed 166 lives.

Saeed’s petition to the UN was filed through the Lahore-based law firm that represents him, Mirza and Mirza, while he was still under house arrest. Navid Rasul Mirza, who has served as the Prosecutor General for Pakistan in the National Accountability Bureau and as the Advocate General of Punjab from March 2015 to January 2016, confirmed that his firm had filed for Saeed’s de-listing.

Read more: Global terrorist, but a free man in Pakistan: 5 things to know about Hafiz Saeed

His son, Barrister Haider Rasul Mirza, who is Saeed’s counsel in the UN, also confirmed the move. “I cannot give details of the petition. I don’t have the permission of my client to speak on this,” he told Hindustan Times over the phone from Lahore.

Hindustan Times has seen operative parts of the petition, which says: “I have been engaged by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (“the petitioner”), to submit on his behalf this de-listing request for the removal of his name from the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list being maintained by the United Nations Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions...”

The UNSC website states Saeed was proscribed for “being associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (QDe.118) and Al Qaida (QDe.004) for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both entities.”

The LeT had been banned by the UN in May 2005. The United States also designates Saeed as a terrorist and has put a $10 million bounty on his head.

The firm representing Saeed has numerous Punjab (Pakistan) government departments as its clients. The Mirzas did not reveal what response they have received from the UN but delisting applications can take up to six months to adjudicate.

Saeed, under house arrest since January 2017, was released last week, sparking outrage in India.

Reacting to his release, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had told reporters, “It appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see... India, as indeed

the entire international community, is outraged that a self-confessed and UN-proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue his evil agenda.’’

Soon after his release from house arrest, Saeed vowed to continue his fight to liberate Kashmir.

Saeed’s attempt to get himself de-listed by the UN is likely to further outrage India, which has been demanding that he be brought to justice for the Mumbai attacks.

India has shared several dossiers with Pakistan detailing his role in the audacious attack. Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist who was captured alive, had also given details of Saeed’s role.

Reacting to Saeed’s release last week, the US on Saturday warned Pakistan of “repercussions for bilateral relations” if he was not immediately re-arrested and charged.

“We are watching Pakistan’s moves. The petition to the UN is yet another attempt by the deep state (army and ISI) to mainstream a terrorist,’’ said an Indian government official, who asked not to be named.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 07:29 IST