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
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
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
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.