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Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Called 'India's Mouthpiece' After Remarks on Hafiz Saeed

Asif had said that Saeed was posed a serious threat to Pakistan.

21/02/2017 3:01 PM IST | Updated 21/02/2017 3:18 PM IST
Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

While on Sunday it was reported that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif admitted at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that Hafiz Saeed was put under house arrest in the larger interest of Pakistan and that he was a threat to the country, several political leaders have called him India's political mouthpiece.

According to a report in The Times of India, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Mahmoodur Rasheed has said that Asif was behaving like he was the defence minister of India and that he had taken a defensive approach when it came to the US and India.

On Sunday Asif had said, "Saeed can pose a serious threat to the society," and added that Saeed was "arrested in the larger interest of the country."

During the panel discussion on countering extremism and terrorism, Asif said: "Terrorism is not synonymous to any religion. Terrorists aren't Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. They are terrorists, they are criminals."

"Let me assure the world community that Pakistan is a frontline state in this war and it will continue to fulfil its obligations to its own people and the international community but if the West's policies are going to be isolationist it won't help the fight against terrorism, only fuel it," The Nation had quoted him as saying.

This was perhaps the first time that a minister from Pakistan admitted that the JuD chief had terrorism links. However it has clearly not gone well with the people of Pakistan.

Former prime minister Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Attique criticised Asif saying he was trying to appease India.

Another former prime minister, Gen Pervez Musharraf, also demanded Saeed's release and called JuD a "very fine NGO."

"In my opinion they are against Taliban (in Pakistan), they did not commit any terrorism in Pakistan or anywhere in the world. So they should be dealt separately," he had said.

Saeed was put under house arrest under the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) earlier this year. He was also put on the the Exit Control List earlier this month, barring him from leaving the country.

Saeed was also put under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, but he was freed by a court in 2009. A reward of $10 million announced by the US for Saeed because of his role in terrorist activities.

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