Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has expressed deep concerns over the involvement of radical elements in Pakistan’s upcoming elections, particularly highlighting the participation of parties backed by Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind the infamous 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The MEA, through its spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, stated that the normalisation of radical outfits in Pakistan’s political landscape is not new and has been part of Islamabad’s state policy for a long time. This development, according to the MEA, poses serious security implications for the region.
Muhammad Hafiz Saeed, designated as a terrorist by the United Nations and the European Union, founded the terror outfit Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT). Despite his notoriety, Saeed has managed to influence the political sphere in Pakistan through the Pakistan Markazi Muslim League (PMML), a political entity under his influence. PMML has fielded candidates for all national and provincial assembly constituencies for the elections scheduled on February 8, 2024.
Notably, Hafiz Saeed’s son, Talha Saeed, is contesting the polls from Lahore’s National Assembly constituency NA-127.
In April 2022, Saeed was sentenced to 33 years in jail for financing terrorism by a special anti-terrorism court in Lahore. However, for nearly two decades, he evaded charges or extradition despite being a globally recognized terrorist.
The Indian Government has reiterated its request for Saeed’s extradition to face trial in India for his role in the 26/11 attacks.
India’s apprehension stems from the long history of terrorism associated with Hafiz Saeed and his organisation, which has been responsible for several high-profile attacks in India. The MEA’s statement underscores the growing anxiety over the potential impact of radical elements gaining political ground in Pakistan, a development that could have farreaching consequences for regional stability and security.