For saying Hafiz Saeed is threat to country, Pakistan's defence minister is being called 'India's mouthpiece'

For saying Hafiz Saeed is threat to country, Pakistan's defence minister is being called 'India's mouthpiece'

NEW DELHI: A day after he said that terrorist Hafiz Saeed is a threat to his country, Pakistan's defence minister is being called "India's mouthpiece" by a variety of political and religious leaders there who believe Saeed "is a patriotic leader", reports The News International. 

The minister, Khwaja Asif, said yesterday that Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, " pose(s) a serious threat to society and has been arrested in the larger national interest ." Saeed was put under house arrest on January 30 and was named under Pakistan's terror act on Saturday. 

Asif's statement "makes him sound like he's India's defence minister, not Pakistan's, said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Mahmoodur Rasheed, even as he condemned the statement against Saeed. Rasheed said Islamabad has adopted "a defensive policy as far as India and the US were concerned," The News International reported. PTI is the party founded by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan. 

Former prime minister Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Attique said government officials like Asif were "issuing media statements to appease India." The minister "has lost control over his tongue" said Jamaat-e-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch. And Defence of Pakistan Council chairman Maulana Samiul Haq said the defence minister - who made the comment while in Germany - "should have "raised the issue of atrocities being committed by the Indian Army in Kashmir." 

In the meanwhile, Saeed's terror outfit Jamaat-ud- Dawa said it will hold protest rallies across Pakistan today against Asif's statement. A spokesperson demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif take notice of the defence minister's statement against Saeed. 

Yesterday, the Indian government cautiously welcomed Pakistan's decision to go after Saeed under the country's anti-terrorism act. 
"Effective action mandated internationally against him and his terrorist organisations and colleagues is a logical first step in bringing them to justice, and in ridding our region of the twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. 

None of this is likely to please Saeed who in December urged the Pakistan government to not make friendly overtures to India. 

"The Pakistani government should not look towards India's friendship. Blood is being shed in Kashmir. Therefore, it is Pakistani government's responsibility to solve their problems," he said, PTI reported. 

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