US-based defence commentator and US military veteran Bill Roggio has termed Pakistan’s ‘efforts’ of curbing terrorism on its land as an “eyewash to placate Western governments in the wake of major terror attacks emanating from Pakistani soil”. In an article published on FDD’s Long War Journal, where Roggio is the managing editor, he has claimed that considering the past practice, the Pakistani government is shuttering terrorist institutions like Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), founded by the UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, only to allow them to reopen a few months later.
FDD’s Long War Journal reports on and analyses the global war on terror. The journal is published by Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a think tank focused on national security and foreign policy based in Washington DC, and Roggio is a Senior Fellow at FDD.
The report said that Pakistan is shutting down JuD offices and detaining its leaders under international pressure. It claims that despite Pakistani Generals and government officials routinely claiming that terrorist groups were not permitted to operate on Pakistani soil, JuD operates freely in Rawalpindi where the headquarters of Pakistani military are located. Exposing the shallowness of Pakistan’s claims of dealing terrorist organisations stringently, the report said that this is not the first time when Pakistan is pretending to have taken Hafiz Saeed under ‘protective custody’, the country has done the so four times in last twenty years and has released the terrorist every time. Saeed was allowed to travel and give sermons at Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa- run mosques in Lahore while in custody.
The report cites several examples where similar “cosmetic efforts” were made by the Pakistani government against Hafiz Saeed and his organisations. After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, Pakistan had claimed to have shut down LeT/JuD offices and detained Hafiz Saeed but the offices were quietly reopened later and Saeed was also released from the so-called house arrest.
Pakistan had made similar shallow claims in 2017 saying that it had closed down JuD’s Markaz-e-Taiba complex in Muridke having facilities like hospital, mosques, madrassas, stores and training facilities for Jehadis. JuD banners were also removed from the roads of Lahore. All this was done to be undone later.
The report raises suspicion on the sincerity of Pakistani action against terrorism. It claims that Hafiz Saeed and his organisation enjoys the support of the State of Pakistan and that the State provides protection to terrorist leaders by placing them under protective custody and releases them as the international pressure decreases
“There is little reason to believe this latest “effort” will be any different”, the report said.