The JuD on Thursday held a conference of radical groups in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to express solidarity on the Kashmir issue,its first major public event after lying low for months due to the scrutiny of its leaders in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
The ‘Yakjaiti-e-Kashmir’ (Kashmir Solidarity) conference in PoK capital Muzaffarabad,organised by the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) — the front of LeT which carried out the Mumbai attacks,was addressed by several leaders of ‘jehadi’ and radical groups,sources said.
Details about the leaders who attended the meet could not immediately be ascertained. The conference was held after a gap of several years as such gatherings were not permitted by authorities after former military ruler Pervez Musharraf clamped down on ‘jehadi’ groups following an assurance to New Delhi that Pakistani soil would not be used for anti-India activities.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid,who was in Muzaffarabad to participate in the conference,said the organisation will hold a series of conferences and rallies in Lahore,Rawalpindi,Islamabad,Quetta and Peshawar in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day,which is observed on February 5.
JuD chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed will address a Friday prayer congregation and a conference in Lahore tomorrow,Mujahid said.
Earlier reports had said that Saeed,a key accused in the Mumbai attacks,would address a meet in Islamabad. Senior JuD leader Abdur Rehman Makki will deliver a sermon at a Friday prayer congregation in Rawalpindi tomorrow and then lead a rally to the Aabpara area in Islamabad. There will also be a public meeting at Aabpara,where the radical Lal Masjid is located.
Since 1990,Pakistan has observed February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day. The day is also a national holiday. In the past few weeks,the JuD has also resumed issuing statements to the media via e-mail on behalf of ‘jehadi’ and radical organisations.
The release of such statements had virtually stopped following intense focus on its activities over the past year. Recently,the JuD issued two statements on behalf of a grouping of radical organisations that asked the Pakistan government to expel the Norwegian ambassador following the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed by a newspaper in Norway.
Members of Falah-e-Insaniyat,a front for the JuD,too have stepped up their activities like the collection of donations across Pakistan,including the federal capital.
Following the Mumbai attacks,Pakistani leaders like Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the JuD had been banned. Top JuD leaders,including Hafiz Saeed,were detained or placed under house arrest only to be subsequently released. During the hearing of a case related to Saeed’s detention in the Lahore High Court last year,the government admitted that no formal notification was issued to ban the JuD.