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February 28, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3626

Addressing Public Rally in Lahore, Lashkar-e-Taiba Founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed Tells India: 'Quit Kashmir or Get Ready to Face a War'; 'The Kashmir Cause is Heading Towards a Conclusion and This Year is Very Important; As the U.S. Flees Iraq and Afghanistan, We Will Get Kashmir This Year'

February 28, 2011
Pakistan, | Special Dispatch No. 3626

On February 5, 2011, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the Pakistani jihadist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and Emir of its charity arm Jamaatud Dawa, addressed a public rally in Lahore marking Kashmir Solidarity Day, an official Pakistani public holiday. The rally was organized by the Jamaatud Dawa.

Addressing nearly 20,000 supporters on the Mall Road in Lahore, Saeed warned that 2011 will be an important year in the Kashmir movement, as the U.S. is poised to leave Afghanistan and Iraq.

Saeed's Jamaatud Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), as well as other charities associated with the militant network, were outlawed by the UN Security Council following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. However, Saeed and his supporters continue to call for jihad in public meetings across Pakistan, as Pakistani authorities avoid prosecuting them.

Following are some excerpts from the report:[1]

"Quit Kashmir Or Get Ready To Face a War"; "We Are Neither Terrorists nor Suicide Bombers; We Are Only Fighting For... Kashmir... We Will Continue Our Jihad"

"Saeed said in a belligerent tone: 'I want to give a message to (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh: Quit Kashmir or get ready to face a war.'

"As his supporters shouted slogans like 'Kashmir is ours,' 'The war will continue till the liberation of Kashmir,' and 'Indians quit Kashmir,' Saeed unveiled his vision for settling the Kashmir issue.

"[He said: 'If freedom is not given to the Kashmiris, then we will occupy the whole of India including Kashmir. We will launch Ghazwa-e-Hind (the battle for India). Our homework is complete to get Kashmir…"

"Saeed… claimed 800,000 Indian soldiers should be 'held accountable' for alleged atrocities they were committing in Jammu and Kashmir… The Kashmir Cause Is Heading Towards a Conclusion... As the U.S. Flees Iraq and Afghanistan, We Will Get Kashmir This Year'

"Saeed, who was put under house arrest for about six months in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks after the UN Security Council declared… [the Jamaatud Dawa as] a front for the LeT, claimed his organization was not a 'terrorist outfit.'

"[He added:] 'We are neither terrorists nor suicide bombers. We are only fighting for the freedom of Kashmir and till our objective is achieved, we will continue our jihad…"'

"If People Took To the Streets As They Did in Egypt, the Governments in India and Pakistan Too Would Have To Go"

"Saeed claimed things had changed around the world. 'If people took to the streets as they did in Egypt, the governments in India and Pakistan too would have to go,' he said.

"Alleging that India wanted to occupy Pakistan's Baluchistan province with the help of the U.S., Saeed said his groups would not let this happen. 'We will save our country,' he added… 'India is destroying Pakistan's agricultural economy by building dams on our water,' he added.

"Criticizing the Pakistan People's Party-led government, Saeed said, 'On Indian-held Kashmir, the point of view of Pakistanis is similar to that of Kashmiris, but the Pakistani government is under pressure from India and other foreign masters.'

"He also criticized the UN, describing it as 'slave to the U.S.' Saeed claimed the Indian government 'tried hard to implicate' the [Jamaatud Dawa] … in the Mumbai attacks but nothing had been proved against it and nothing would be because the organization was 'not involved' in the incident. 'After 9/11, our organization was targeted and damage was inflicted…' he claimed…"

Endnote:

[1] www.rediff.com (India), February 5, 2011. The text of the report has been lightly edited for clarity.

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