Hafiz Saeed has been banned by the government from delivering weekly Friday sermon at Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) headquarters in Lahore. This is perhaps for the first time in years that Hafiz Saeed despite being present in Lahore will not be able to deliver Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid Qadsia.
Saeed was never stopped from delivering Friday sermons even during the years when Masjid Qadsia’s control was under the Punjab government.
“As the Punjab police have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, Saeed will not be allowed to enter the premises to give his weekly sermon on Friday,” a senior official of the Punjab government told PTI.
“Saeed requested the Punjab government to allow him to give a sermon on Friday at Qadsia Masjid but it was turned down. This is a significant step with regard to the ‘clout’ of Hafiz Saeed as for the first time he is not being allowed by the government to give a sermon on Friday,” he added.
Pakistan authorities on Thursday sealed the Lahore headquarters of JuD and FIF and detained over 120 suspected militants as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned groups. The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice. The question remains will Imran Khan bring Saeed to justice and possibly extradite him to India which could set the platform to bring India-Pakistan relations on track.
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