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Updated: June 27, 2010 13:18 IST

Pak rules out barring Hafiz Saeed from giving hate speeches

PTI
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Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, center, the leader of a banned Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa addresses an anti-Indian rally in Lahore, Pakistan in March this year. File photo
AP Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, center, the leader of a banned Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa addresses an anti-Indian rally in Lahore, Pakistan in March this year. File photo

"The overwhelming majority of people do not agree with hate speeches. They want normalisation, they want peace, they want growth, they want development", he said.

Pakistan has virtually ruled out barring Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack of 2008, from giving inflammatory speeches targetting India.

“In a democracy, there is freedom of expression in Pakistan as in India. There are all sorts of people making all kinds of speeches. There are people with extremist views in both India and Pakistan.... and there is nothing you can do about it. There are views being expressed in Pakistan that I can do nothing about,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters here last night.

He, however, said the “positive” thing is that the views of extremist elements do not reflect that of the majority opinion either in India or in Pakistan.

“The overwhelming majority of people do not agree with hate speeches. They want normalisation, they want peace, they want growth, they want development”, he said.

Asked if the tone laid down in Bhutan after the meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani on the margin of SAARC summit yielded fruits, Mr. Qureshi said: “I think there is progress”.

He said the fact that Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Pakistan and met her Pakistani counterpart, that Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram came to Pakistan and had “candid discussion” with his Pakistani counterpart “I consider this progress”.

In this context, Mr. Qureshi also cited his meeting with Mr. Chidambaram discussing issues of concern.


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