Why India is Still Unhappy after Hafiz Saeed’ Sentence Announcement
Hafiz Saeed, head of the charity organization Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) Pakistan has been sentenced to six years in prison by Lahore Anti-terrorism court recently. While this decision may be seen as a comforting development for India in the sense that it had for long claimed although without any proof that Hafiz Saeed was involved in terror financing in India, this news is actually a blessing in disguise for Pakistan.
Pakistan had been on the FATF grey list for quite some time during the current year and had been on the verge of falling into the black list, which would have had severe consequence for the economy of Pakistan and especially for the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment from International Corporate Sector into the country’s vast untapped resources. Lately, certain developments had made many economists and experts predict that Pakistan would have no other option but to be designated in the black list by FATF in its next meeting which is just around the corner.
These developments incorporated India’s persistent allegations of terror camps in Pakistan and the Maulana Fazl ur Rehman Jalsa in Islamabad which would have severely blemished Pakistan’s image had it stayed for some longer period. It is important to note that the timing of the Jalsa/sit in was exactly when FATF in its last meeting had given time for improvement for Pakistan. The gathering of the JUI men in Islamabad and the lock down would have caused a tremendous negative publicity for Pakistan. India had used the terrorism card against the JuD chief quite vehemently in international corridors and in the process had gained support from many different anti-Pakistan lobbies. The US Government had even endorsed Indian perspective against Hafiz Saeed and the nexus had almost made it inevitable for Pakistan to escape the black list.
Providentially, and with incredible chivalry, Pakistan played the game very well and quite clearly to its own advantage. While Pakistan did not ignore India’s calls for making progress on the case against Hafiz Saeed, it kept the world community informed of India’s duplicitous role in this case. Ever since the matter was brought up, Pakistan had demanded verifiable and actionable evidence against Hafiz Saeed at both the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) level and at the Foreign Office (FO) level. However, not once did India provide any real evidence. All the while, Pakistan kept the FATF community well informed of India’s double gaming and clearly established the perspective that India is not playing authentic role in all of this. It proved to the world that India is not serious and using this case only to keep its age old narrative of bias against Pakistan alive.
Recently, when the courts in Pakistan announced a six-year sentence against Jud Leader, it sent two messages to the world:
- One, that despite any evidence against Hafiz Saeed for involvement in the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Pakistan has not backed off from proceeding against anyone who is even allegedly claimed to be involved in terror or terror financing. This has strengthened Pakistan’s age old narrative that the country is not a home of terrorists or anyone associated with it anywhere in the world and its authorities will not back off from any investigation.
- Two, Pakistan has very smartly maneuvered Indian plans to involve Pakistan in the Terrorism debate and at the same time has bought a lot of room for itself to correct course of FATF. It has clearly established India as the party that only alleges blame without evidence, and has brought itself on a position of higher moral ground compared to India.
All of this is apparently an important achievement in the sense that Pakistan cannot directly counter the Indian strength in the international lobbying circuit but legally speaking it has cleared its name of any blame against any of its citizens.
With all these perspectives in mind, Pakistan has dealt a severe blow to Indian designs against Pakistan. There is no doubt that all this must have frustrated India and it will come up with some new shenanigans, yet it has shown the world that Pakistan will not back off from clearing up its name and will counter Indian propaganda at every front.