Hafiz Saeed's Profile
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, is the key accused in a number of terrorist attacks, including the November 2008 deadly assault in Mumbai that killed nearly two hundred people and injured more than three hundred.india Updated: Jun 02, 2009 16:10 IST
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, is the key accused in a number of terrorist attacks, including the November 2008 deadly assault in Mumbai that killed nearly two hundred people and injured more than three hundred.
He was born in Sargodha to a conservative Pakistani Punjabi family. His family lost 36 of its members when migrating from Shimla to Lahore during the partition of India and Pakistan. He has a wife name Maimoona.
General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq appointed Saeed to the Council on Islamic Ideology, and he later served as an Islamic Studies teacher at the University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), Pakistan.
He was sent to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s by the university for higher studies where he met Saudi Sheikhs who were taking part in the Afghan jihad.
In 1987, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed along with Abdullah Azzam, founded Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad, a group with roots in the Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis.The Markaz itself was an offshoot of the ultra-conservative Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis, a branch of radical Sunni thought which holds that only the sayings and doings of the Prophet Mohammad, his followers and family members form the sole basis of Islam.
This organisation spawned the jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1990, with the help of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence officers. The LeT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993. The LeT claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in 2001, including an attack in January on Srinagar airport that killed five Indians along with six militants; an attack on a police station in Srinagar that killed at least eight officers and wounded several others; and an attack in April against Indian border-security forces that left at least four dead.
India publicly implicated the LeT—along with JeM — for the attack on December 13, 2001 on the Indian Parliament building. The LeT is also suspected of involvement in the attack on May 14, 2002 on an Indian Army base in Kaluchak that left 36 dead.
Senior Al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LeT safehouse in Faisalabad in March 2002, suggesting some members are facilitating the movement of al-Qaeda members in Pakistan.
Pakistan detained Saeed on December 21, 2001 in relation to Indian accusations of his involvement with the December 13, 2001 attack on the Lok Sabha. He was held until March 31, 2002, arrested again on May 15, and was placed under house arrest on October 31 of the same year.
After the July 11, 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the provincial government of Punjab, Pakistan arrested him on August 9, 2006 and kept him under house arrest but he was released on August 28, 2006 after a Lahore High Court order. He was arrested again on the same day by the provincial government and was kept in the Canal Rest House in Sheikhupura.
He was finally released after the Lahore High Court order on October 17, 2006.
Since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India has submitted a formal request to the UN Security Council to put the group Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Saeed on the list of individuals and organisations sanctioned by the United Nations for being associated with terrorism.
Indian Govt accuses the organisation and its leader, Saeed, of being virtually interchangeable with Lashkar-e-Taiba. India says that the close links between the organisations, as well as the 2,500 offices and 11 seminaries that Jamaat-ud-Dawa maintains in Pakistan, "are of immediate concern with regard to their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate terrorist activities." On December 10, 2008 Saeed denied a link between LeT and JuD in an interview with Pakistan's Geo television stating that "no Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba."
On Thursday 11 December Hafiz Mohammed Saeed was again placed under house arrest as he is accused of having links to the Mumbai attacks which killed at least 170 people.
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is listed as one of the most wanted persons in India because of his ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba and its alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.
According to most sources, the group collects donations from the Pakistani expatriate community in the Persian Gulf and Britain as well as from Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. Experts say it also receives funding from the ISI and Saudi Arabia. LeT also coordinates its charitable activities through its front organization Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JUD), which spearheaded humanitarian relief to the victims of the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir.
First Published: Jun 02, 2009 12:52 IST