Nearly a thousand Indian Muslim clerics have signed and issued a resolution condemning the alleged anti-India activities of Pakistan-based Hafiz Saeed, the founder of banned terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).
Saeed is accused of masterminding a series of shooting and bomb attacks that lasted four days across Mumbai in November 2008, killing more than 170 people in India’s third deadliest terrorist attack. The 67-year-old has been under house arrest in Pakistan since late January.
The fatwa, or decree, that was issued in Mumbai on Tuesday, has been delivered to the U.N. Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the heads of various countries through their embassies, said Dr. Abdur Rehman Anjaria, who introduced the resolution.
The resolution also urged the U.N. to declare Pakistan a terrorist state if it failed to rein in violent extremism emanating from its soil.
“Pakistan is directly and indirectly involved [in] promoting terrorism in the name of Islam. Because of Pakistan[’s] actions, the Islam name is getting maligned and Islam is being considered as the religion of terrorism and extremism,” read the resolution addressed to the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee chairman, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta.
“In view of the above facts, kindly declare Pakistan a terror state. I hope that you will take note and make sincere efforts to rein Pakistan so that peace can prevail in the world,” it said.
The fatwa was issued a day after JuD’s Saifullah Khalid, Saeed’s key aide, announced the formation of a political outfit called the Milli Muslim League (MML).
“The resolution is aimed at slamming proscribed outfits attempting to legitimize their positions in society,” Anjaria, who heads the Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Defense Cyber Cell, told BenarNews.
Mumbai, the main financial center in majority Hindu India, was targeted in the nation’s three deadliest terror attacks, all carried out by suspected Muslim extremists. At least 600 people were killed and nearly 1,500 wounded in bombings and other attacks in the Mumbai area in 1993, 2006 and 2008.
The 13-page memorandum was attached with a document issued by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry that said there were 64 proscribed organizations operating on Pakistani territory with impunity, Anjaria said.
The memorandum also urged Islamabad to deny permission to JuD to form a political party, Mohammad Hashim Kanpuri, a signatory to the resolution, said.
“Just imagine, Pakistan has nuclear capability, and with groups like JuD gaining power through political channels, South Asia will become one of the most dangerous places in the world,” Kanpuri told BenarNews.
“Terrorists like Hafiz Saeed will play havoc in the region,” he added.
However, JuD’s Khalid, who is president of the newly founded MML, told reporters in Lahore that they would soon file an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan to register the party.
“The new party will try to rebuild the nation into a real Islamic state and also secure the immediate release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest,” Khalid said, according to Pakistani media.
Mufti Mohammed Ashrafi, another signatory of the fatwa, said their key point was “against religious violence.”
“In our letter we have painstakingly pointed out that suicide bombings, which are against the tenets of Islam, are being openly glorified by people like Saeed. Islam never espouses or encourages violence. It is a religion of peace,” Ashrafi, who had also issued a fatwa against Islamic State (IS) in 2015, told BenarNews.
“We have requested the U.N. not to soft-pedal the issue. We are living in troubled times. And because of the ostrich-like attitude of successive governments in Pakistan, terrorist groups are thriving there,” he said.