18 Dec 2018
Pakistan minister vows to protect UN designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed
A leaked video circulated online showed Prime Minister Imran Khan's junior internal affairs, Shehryar Afridi, vowed to "protect" Saeed, who is also the founder of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Here are the details.
Afridi, Saeed's party leaders seen speaking in the video
In the leaked video, Minister of State for Internal Affairs Shehryar Afridi is seen talking to leaders from the Saeed-backed Milli Muslim League (MML).
The discussion heads towards the non-registration of MML as a political party under US pressure, and the Pakistan election commission's plans to designate MML as a terrorist organization, when Afridi makes his promise.
WATCH: The leaked video showing Afridi's pledge
Pakistan's State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi says as long as PTI is in power, it'll back globally-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed and his organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa/MML... We're so determined to be on the FATF blacklist pic.twitter.com/Bo90NPnBQy— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) December 16, 2018
Saeed has a $10mn bounty on his head
Following the 26/11 attacks that killed over 164 people, the UN had marked Saeed as an internationally designated terrorist.
Subsequently, in 2012, the US announced a $10mn bounty on Saeed, for his role in the 26/11 attacks that had also killed six Americans.
Although Saeed enjoys influence in Pakistan, the country's election commission (ECP) did not register Saeed's MLM for this year's elections supposedly under US pressure.
Terror financing watchdog could blacklist Pakistan soon
The leaked video comes at a time when India and other Western powers are gearing up to make a case against Pakistan at a January-scheduled review meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), for failing to clamp down on terror groups like Saeed's LeT.
Earlier, the FATF had placed Pakistan on its 'grey list' for failing to curb terror financing.
India, meanwhile, has pledged to deliver justice
Meanwhile, on the same day the news of the video surfaced, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin pledged that Saeed would be brought to justice.
Speaking at the sidelines of a conference on soft power, Akbaruddin said that India would neither forget Saeed's deeds, nor would it relent in its pursuit of the terrorist.
As long as PTI is in power, Saeed has support
"As long as we (PTI) are in the government all those including Hafiz Saeed who are raising voice for Pakistan and righteousness, we are with them. I request you to come to the National Assembly and see whether we are supporting those who're on the right path or not," Afridi is seen saying.
India has a bone to pick with Saeed
India, in particular, has a bone to pick with Hafiz Saeed. Apart from the 2008 Mumbai attack, Saeed had also been behind the 2001 Parliament attack that had killed nine, and the 2006 Mumbai train bombings that had killed over 200 people.