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JuD chief Saeed wants to meet Chidambaram

By M Zulqernain
February 05, 2010 21:17 IST
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Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who is accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks, on Friday said the only solution to resolving problems between India and Pakistan is the 'liberation of Jammu and Kashmir', failing which radical groups will resort to the 'option of Jihad'.

Addressing a gathering of about 10,000 people at the Mall Road in Lahore to mark 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', Saeed said this is the message he would convey to Home Minister P Chidambaram, if he came to Lahore during his upcoming visit to Pakistan.

"We are not against composite dialogues. I ask Chidambaram to first come to Lahore before going to Islamabad and hold talks with me. I will tell him a solid solution to the problems between India and Pakistan," said Saeed.

"There is only one solution to all the problems -- liberate Indian-held Kashmir. Otherwise the option of Jihad (holy war) is open for us," Saeed said.

He also warned India that the liberation of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad was also on the JuD's agenda. Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba, warned the Pakistan government not to fool the people in the name of the composite dialogue with India.

"Our rulers get happy whenever India expresses its wish for talks with Pakistan. I want to tell them that India will never talk about liberating Srinagar and Jammu and Pakistan must understand this," he said.

The JuD chief said his group "had already tested the Indian Army". He also spoke of the Indian role in the creation of Bangladesh by 'dividing Pakistan' and the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. He claimed that after blaming the JuD for the Mumbai attacks, Indian leaders had now started finding the culprits responsible for the assault within their country.

Saeed also said it was the 'religious' duty of every Muslim to help members of the religion who are in trouble in any part of the world. "Now the time has come to free all occupied areas. We are on the right side," he said as his supporters cheered.

The JuD organised the gathering on the Mall Road, the main thoroughfare in Lahore, as part of a series of rallies and meetings across Pakistan on the occasion of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', which is observed to protest the 'occupation' of Jammu and Kashmir.

These are the first major public events organised by the JuD, which had kept a low profile in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks due to the scrutiny of its leaders.

Authorities put in place strict security measures to avert any untoward incidents during the JuD meeting. Leaders and activists of other hard-line groups also participated in the meeting. Among them were Farid Ahmed Paracha of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sawaf and United Jehad Council leader General Abdullah.

Saeed was detained after the United Nations Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

However, he was freed on the orders of the Lahore high court after six months. Seven men, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, are currently being tried by an anti-terror court for allegedly planning and executing the Mumbai terror attacks.

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M Zulqernain In Lahore
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