Pak hardline coalition asks Zardari to cancel India
Last Updated: Friday, April 06, 2012, 00:25
Lahore: The Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a conglomerate of hardline groups, Thursday asked President Asif Ali Zardari to cancel his trip to India to protest the USD 10 million bounty offered by the US for Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

The DPC, a conglomerate of over 40 hardline and extremist groups cobbled together by Saeed last year, had made a similar demand at a news conference addressed by its top leaders in Rawalpindi yesterday.

Addressing a news conference in Lahore, leaders of the grouping said India had not sent its hockey team to Pakistan while the president was scheduled to visit the neighbouring country on April 8.

Leaders of 14 parties said the DPC would go ahead with a nationwide protest on Friday as well as other rallies.

Zardari is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch on April 8 before making a private visit to the 13th century Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer.

Earlier this week, the US announced a USD 10 million bounty for Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and a USD two million reward for his deputy, Abdul Rahman Makki.

The Pakistan government has sought "concrete evidence" against Saeed from the US, saying it could not take any action in the absence of proof of his involvement in terrorism.

The DPC leaders said the grouping is united and no party would back down on the issue of Saeed.

They claimed the US had announced the bounty to pressure Pakistan to reopen NATO supply routes that were closed last year.

The DPC is also considering a move to approach international courts regarding the bounty though the matter will first be taken up in Pakistani courts as the US decision amounted to interference in the country's internal affairs, the leaders said. They further contended that Saeed and Makki were Pakistani citizens and it was the government's responsibility to protect them.

They called on the US to provide proof regarding the allegations against Saeed.

Among those who addressed the news conference were JuD leader Ameer Hamza, Pakistan Ulema Council leader Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, Awami Muslim League leader Mian Abdul Qadeer, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-S leader Asif Makhdoom and Farid Paracha of the Jamaat-e-Islami.


First Published: Friday, April 06, 2012, 00:25

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