To a question on whether the United States had raised with Pakistan its view on the Difa-e-Pakistan Council rally in Karachi last week, the State Department said it was “concerned about the recent public appearances of Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed,” at the rally.
Pointing out that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaat-ud-Dawa were internationally sanctioned because of their associations with al-Qaeda, a State Department spokesperson said, “We have and continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267/1989. That resolution calls for all countries to freeze assets of sanctioned groups, prevent the transfer of arms to them, and prevent sanctioned individuals from entering or transiting their territories.”
In comments to The Hindu Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, said, “It is reprehensible and irresponsible on the part of Pakistani authorities to permit JuD leader Hafiz Saeed to hold political rallies. The U.S. and the U.N. have recognised JuD as a front organisation for the Lashkar-eTayyiba, responsible for the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai...”
Ms. Curtis cautioned that allowing Saeed to operate freely was not only damaging to Indo-Pakistani peace efforts, but it “casts overall doubt on Pakistan's commitment to fighting international terrorism.” She said when Pakistani authorities permitted terrorist leaders to operate openly and conduct rallies, they were undercutting Pakistan's counterterrorism credentials.
Especially in the light of the court testimony by David Headley, which indicated Pakistani intelligence service involvement in the Mumbai attacks, Ms. Curtis said, “It is even more unbelievable that Pakistani officials would allow Saeed this kind of political space.”