Pakistan’s ex-FM shares dais with Hafiz Saeed

Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the guest speaker and Hafiz Mohammad Saeed the chief guest at a session of Nazaria-e-Pakistan Conference.

Lahore: Pakistan`s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi shared the dais with LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed at an event here during which the militant leader targeted India and the US.

Qureshi was the guest speaker and Saeed the chief guest at a session of the Nazaria-e-Pakistan Conference organised yesterday by Majid Nizami, the editor-in-chief of `The Nation` daily.

Saeed, the JuD chief, claimed that backchannel diplomacy would not help resolve the Kashmir issue. Though the government had "declared India an MFN state, however no political force had moved any resolution against this objectionable decision," Saeed said.

His comments were an obvious reference to the government`s decision in principle to give India the Most Favoured Nation-status by the end of the year.

Saeed claimed the US and its allies were "leaving Afghanistan after a crushing defeat" and predicted that "atomic Pakistan" would emerge as an important state on the international canvas.

He alleged that the US wanted to play a dangerous game in the region by declaring Pakistan a terrorist state. Saeed said the government had declared that NATO supply routes closed in November would not be restored but the Defence Minister had said that permission had been given to use Pakistani airspace to ferry NATO supplies.

The survival of Pakistan lies in safeguarding the country`s ideology, Saeed said.

"East Pakistan was dismembered from the West, as we failed to safeguard the ideology of Pakistan," he added. In his speech, Qureshi, now the vice chairman of Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, warned that there would be "bloodshed" if the current administration "tried to achieve results of their choice in the next elections”.

He said the time has come for constituting an impartial Election Commission to elect the true representatives of the people.

While accusing the Prime Minister of attempting to rig the election process in favour of his son in Multan, Qureshi claimed officials of the Intelligence Bureau were asking for votes in favour of Yousuf Raza Gilani`s son.

Saeed has stepped up his public appearances in recent months, especially at events organised by the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a grouping of over 40 extremist and hardline organisations put together by the JuD.

The US State Department recently expressed concern at his public appearances and reminded the Pakistan government of its obligations under sanctions imposed on the JuD and its leaders by the UN Security Council.