ISLAMABAD: A lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has demanded action against non-state actors, especially Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, BBC Urdu reported.
During a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs held Thursday, PML-N lawmaker Rana Muhammad Afzal asked, “Which eggs is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him?"
He also said, “The efficacy of our foreign policy speaks for itself when we couldn’t curtail Hafiz Saeed.”
“India has built such a case against us about the JuD chief that during the meeting on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention him [Hafiz Saeed] as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India,” he maintained.
Rana recalled a recent trip to France, where he had been tasked to explain the worsening situation in Kashmir, and said that the name of Hafiz Saeed was brought up time and again by foreign delegates.
The lawmaker said that although he had rarely heard about Hafiz Saeed during his 25 years in politics, Saeed was considered a notorious character in international circles. He asked whether Hafiz Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause.
Rana said that although the government's stance on Kashmir is correct, banned outfits were a source of embarrassment for the country.
It was reported in Dawn newspaper on Thursday that state policy on non-state actors was discussed in a high-level security meeting between civilian and military leadership.
In an unprecedented warning, the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state.
During the meeting it was decided that military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action.
In an email to DawnNews, Afzal denied seeking any action against Hafiz Saeed.
He, however, acknowledged to have said that: “His [Hafiz Saeed] optics give India an opportunity to blackmail Pakistan internationally. If he is of no benefit to Pakistan, then why are we allowing his optics to affect loss to Pakistan?”
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry summarised the results of the recent diplomatic outreach by Pakistan, the crux being that Pakistan faces diplomatic isolation and that the government’s talking points have been met with indifference in major world capitals.
In response to Foreign Secretary Chaudhry’s conclusions, Gen Akhtar asked what steps could be taken to prevent the drift towards isolation. Chaudhry’s reply was direct and emphatic: the principal international demands are for action against Masood Azhar and the Jaish-i-Mohmmad; Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar-i-Taiba; and the Haqqani network.
To that, Gen Akhtar offered that the government should arrest whomever it deems necessary, though it is unclear whether he was referring to particular individuals or members of banned groups generally. At that point came the stunning and unexpectedly bold intervention by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.