Mani Shankar Aiyar confronts JuD chief on Pak TV

Saeed was briefly detained after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Last Updated: Feb 02, 2012, 23:28 PM IST

Islamabad: Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed appeared to lose his cool on a TV talk show
on Thursday when parliamentarian Mani Shankar Aiyar questioned his
contention that Indians did not accept Pakistan, and said he
should be arrested and brought before a terrorism court.

The host of the show suddenly introduced Saeed, the
alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, on a
phone link while Aiyar was in the studio in Islamabad with
another panellist.

Responding to a question from the host, the founder of
the Lashkar-e-Taiba listed his reasons for opposing improved
trade relations with India and the granting of Most Favoured
Nation-status to the neighbouring country.

"Giving India MFN-status is not correct in any manner
because there are already big problems that haven`t been
resolved, including the Kashmir issue.

"At this moment, the dams being made by India will create
a crisis in Pakistan," Saeed claimed.

Saeed further claimed he had "never opposed talks" with
India but the neighbouring country "has never seriously tried
to resolve problems".

Aiyar, currently on a private visit to Pakistan,
responded to this by saying that Saeed was part of a "small
group" that opposed better ties with India while ordinary
people wanted relations between the two countries to grow.

"There are some persons like Hafiz Saeed in our country
who do not want things to move forward but thankfully the
ordinary people want our ties to improve. We can improve our
relations irrespective of what his (Saeed`s) opinion is.

"We want him to be caught and taken to a terrorism
court," Aiyar said

Saeed then claimed there was "no case" against him in
Pakistan and that he had always been arrested by Pakistani
authorities on the basis of what he said were trumped up
charges presented by India.

He further claimed that Pakistan`s High Courts and
Supreme Court had "cleared" him despite the accusations
levelled by India.

"I regret that India does not accept the courts or the
law (of Pakistan). They are not even ready to accept
Pakistan," Saeed said.

Asked by the host if he agreed with Saeed`s contention,
Aiyar replied that he accepted Pakistan "a lakh per cent".
He added: "We do not want Pakistan to be split up or be
destroyed. We want Pakistan to be strong, prosperous and we
want friendship with Pakistan.

"We want to face the world shoulder-to-shoulder with
Pakistan and not oppose each other," Aiyar said.

At this point, Saeed appeared to lose his cool and began
speaking in a raised tone before he was quickly cut off by the
host. Saeed claimed that if Aiyar accepted Pakistan, then he
should accept the verdicts of Pakistani courts clearing him.

"They are clearing me and saying I have no links to
terrorism. Which court do they want to take me to? I want to
tell him that if you do not like Pakistan`s courts then take
me to an international court and the present the (evidence)
you have," Saeed said.

Saeed was briefly detained after the UN Security Council
declared the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai
attacks.

In recent months, he has played a key role in putting
together the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a conglomerate of some
40 extremist and religious groups.

The Council has organised a string of meetings and
massive rallies at which its leaders have targeted India and
the US. They have pledged to continue the jihad in Jammu and
Kashmir.

PTI