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Will Imran Khan now explain why his minister was sharing the stage with Hafiz Saeed?

Author: Hamza Ameer
Publication: Dailyo.in
Date: October 3, 2018
URL:      https://www.dailyo.in/politics/will-imran-khan-now-explain-why-his-minister-was-sharing-the-stage-with-hafiz-saeed/story/1/27013.html

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran wrote to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, proposing resumption of bilateral dialogue — apparently aiming to normalise the tensed relations.

The first speech of the Pakistani Premier, followed by an appreciating response from Narendra Modi, expressed through a phone call and a felicitation letter, raised the hopes for a revival of the talks between the two countries.

However, the initial gestures turned out to be the mere sugarcoating on a severely bitter cake, as the respective foreign ministers of both the countries turned the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) into an Indo-Pak war of words.

There’s more.

The UNGA episode was followed by a violation of airspace by Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, whose chopper flew for at least two minutes into the Indian airspace, forcing aerial firing by the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and diverting the chopper onto the Pakistani side.

But the real fire was fuelled when Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind, shared the stage with a sitting minister from Imran Khan’s federal government.

Or, to put it in a more significant way: Noor-Ul Haq Qadri, the minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, shared the stage with Saeed, a globally declared terrorist by the United Nations.

The All Parties Conference, which the minister is being criticised for attending, was organised by Difa-e-Pakistan Council, or, Defense of Pakistan Council (DPC). DPC, formed by Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, is focused on promoting and spreading anti-India narratives countrywide.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, known as the ‘father of Taliban’ is the chairperson on DPC. He is also the founder and the owner of Darul Aloom Haqqania, the religious school where the slain chief of Pakistani Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) studied.

On the other hand, Hafiz Saeed is the man with a 10 million dollar bounty on his head, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jamat-ud-Dawa (JUD), charity organisation Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and the recently launched political party Milli Muslim League (MML). He is the co-chairperson of the DPC.

The APC, held in the capital, Islamabad, was focussed on Kashmir, the Line of Control and the anti-India rhetoric.

“Any aggression from India would be responded in a befitting manner as the whole nation was united to defend the motherland”,  said minsiter Noor-Ul Haq Qadri.

Lashing out at the Indian government for its response to Pakistan’s offer for talks, the minister said, “Indian response for peace and dialogue was as usual stubborn and reluctant to come across the table for negotiations.”

The conference ended with a declaration that India’s “war-mongering” threats would destroy the peace of the entire South Asia.

The APC demanded the United Nations take note of the use of chemical weapons by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The APC also demanded the United Nations declare India as a terrorist state.

While on one side PM Imran Khan has expressed his desire to engage India in a dialogue, its inaction against Hafiz Saeed and his affiliate organisations has raised serious questions over Islamabad’s intentions for Indo-Pak talks.

Questions have also been raised over the presence of a sitting federal minister in an anti-India conference, sharing the stage with Hafiz Saeed, the man against whom India has been demanding Pakistan to take action.
 
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