Crackdown on JuD

Published February 1, 2017

In a move that will be closely watched both inside Pakistan and abroad, the federal government has put Hafiz Saeed and four of his colleagues under house arrest, and placed the Jamaatud Dawa and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation on further terror watch lists.

The arrests in Punjab, the statements attributed to federal officials and the supportive comments by DG ISPR Gen Asif Ghafoor indicate that the actions against Mr Saeed and the organisations he leads have been taken after inter-institutional, federal-provincial discussions — increasing the likelihood that the clampdown will be sustained and meaningful.

Clearly, Pakistan cannot win the fight against militancy and extremism until it adopts a zero-tolerance approach against all manifestations of the problem. And just as clearly, notwithstanding the protestations of innocence by the JuD/FiF/LeT and the angry denunciations by their cadres of the government’s action, Hafiz Saeed and his associates have a great deal to answer for.

There are at least two issues that must be quickly addressed. First, the legal case against Mr Saeed and the organisations he leads must be methodically assembled. The watch-listed JuD and FiF and the banned LeT have sophisticated legal operations that have often, and easily, been able to outmanoeuvre investigators and state prosecutors.

This time, the investigators must be of the highest calibre, the accumulation of evidence meticulous and the eventual framing of charges should meet the very highest standards of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Anything short of that and the state’s will to progressively eliminate all non-state actors operating on Pakistani soil will once again be called into question.

The various groups in the LeT umbrella network will likely try and hide behind ostensibly legal activities such as charitable operations and social welfare services. But if the strategic control of the various groups in the network and the financial linkages between them are unearthed and made public, the dismantling of the entire apparatus should become possible.

Second, the state must start to move against all militant and extremist networks in a methodical manner, doing so on a timeline that suggests an internal consensus and not external pressure.

Already the JuD/FiF, like-minded groups and a sprawling national network of supporters have tried to cast the crackdown as an external agenda, of a government and state cravenly submitting to the diktat of outside powers, especially the US.

But a sweeping set of actions against all groups here — those that the US, India and Afghanistan have long demanded action against as well as other networks that are deeply problematic but that may not necessarily have an external dimension — and emphatic public ownership of those actions by the military and political leadership would send a strong signal.

The fight against militancy is a fight for Pakistan by Pakistan for Pakistani reasons — that is the message that the state must send urgently.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

Royal tantrum
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Royal tantrum

The PML-N's confrontational stance and overt refusal to respect courts orders on arguably flimsy pretexts is a dangerous sign.
Bangladesh chaos
20 Jul, 2024

Bangladesh chaos

CHAOS has engulfed Dhaka, as well as other parts of Bangladesh, over the past few days. Anti-government protests had...
Fitch’s estimate
20 Jul, 2024

Fitch’s estimate

FITCH seems to be more optimistic about Pakistan accelerating its economic growth rate to 3.2pc during this fiscal...
Misplaced priorities
Updated 19 Jul, 2024

Misplaced priorities

The government must call its APC at the earliest and invite all stakeholders to take part; this matter cannot be delayed further.
Oman terror attack
19 Jul, 2024

Oman terror attack

THE normally peaceful sultanate of Oman was shaken by sectarian terrorism on Monday when militants belonging to the...
Urban flooding
19 Jul, 2024

Urban flooding

THE provincial authorities have been taking precautionary measures, or so we have been told, to cope with emergency...