JuD, Hafiz Saeed
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the chief of Jamaat ud Dawa. – File Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the chief of Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) a charity organisation accused by West and India for exporting terror from Pakistan, has confessed for the first time about his meeting with al Qaida founding father Osama Bin Laden and said that he studied from the same scholar who taught bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“Yes once I had met Osama Bin Laden but that is an old story I met him probably in 1982 in Saudi Arabia and in that meeting we just waived at each other,” said Saeed in an interview with Dawn.com.

Saeed’s organisation was banned by the United Nations Security Council days after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 for its alleged involvement in the attacks and extremists activities. However local courts have allowed the organisation to work in Pakistan.

Saeed, the most wanted man by India, is a holder of double master’s degree in Islamic Studies and also is a former teacher at Engineering University, Punjab.

He said he was a proud student of Sheikh Bin Baz.

Bin Baz was the grand mufti (scholar) of Saudi Arabia from 1993 to until his death in May 1999.

AfPak head and a retired CIA officer, Bruce Riedel in his book titled “The Search for Al Qaeda” has described Bin Baz as one who “preached a very reactionary brand of Islam, proclaiming earth is flat, banning high heels for women as too sexually provocative, barring men from wearing Western suits and imposing other restrictions on behavior.” When asked is it not a coincidence that he studied under the same cleric who taught Osama Bin Laden and Aiman al al-Zawahiri? Saeed said it was the honour for both the students and the teacher.

When asked about the reports regarding the financial help by Osama Bin Laden for establishing Lashkar-i-Taiba back in 1989-90, Saeed denied by calling it “baseless allegation.”

Asked how it was possible that he could not have met Bin Laden in neighboring Afghanistan while he was waging Jihad next door in Indian administered Kashmir, Saeed brushed aside the question saying, “put this matter aside.”

Saeed declared the killing of Osama Bin Laden as extra judicial act and in the same breath he said that it was yet to be verified if the al Qaeda chief was in the Abbotabad compound or not.

He said that US was the biggest terrorist who did not prove anything against bin Laden in any court of law.

When asked if his men or he himself were helping the jihad in Afghanistan, Saeed said that the Afghanis were doing well themselves and they did not need anybody’s help. “We are doing what we can do for them,” he added.

Saeed who used to hide from cameras has started appearing on television screen these days, when asked about the reason behind this change of mind he said that he has taken this decision to counter the propaganda against himself and his organisation.

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