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A vow to avenge 1971

Print edition : May 09, 2003 T+T-
in Islamabad

PROFESSOR Mohammad Hafiz Said, former chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, believes that the disintegration of Pakistan in the aftermath of the 1971 war, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, was the result of a wicked Indian conspiracy, which should not be forgiven. India should be punished for that evil plan, which was in effect against the Muslim fraternity because Pakistan is a citadel of Islam, according to him.

At a rally in the Punjab city of Sheikhupura in Pakistan's Punjab province on April 4, Said warned in a diatribe: "Vajpayee, listen carefully! We will not be at peace until we settle the score of 1971 with you. To avenge is our right and we will do it."

Excoriating Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, he said: "Musharraf might be afraid of India but we are not. We openly say that we will take revenge for 1971 and we will fight the next war inside Indian territory." Said claimed that Israeli warplanes were stationed in "India-held Kashmir" to attack Pakistan's nuclear installations.

Sources close to Said said that his statements were not "empty slogans". "He means what he says. In fact, he has set up a suicide squad that would stage attacks on India to offset the loss and miseries Pakistan suffered owing to the1971 war," said a young mujahid (holy warrior), who was proud that he was able to "consign" six Hindu Army officers "to hell" in Kashmir last year.

Said's interpretation of jehad, the holy war, is that it is mandatory for all Muslims, be they men or women. In one of the recent issues of Jamatud Dawa's weekly publication, Ghazwa Times, some female supporters of the LeT (which is operating in Kashmir freely, according to Said) expressed their desire to join the female Iraqi fidayeen (suicide bombers).

In fact, the maid of this writer, Jameela, is a great admirer of Said. She says: "I have entrusted my two sons to Lashkar. Now I would like to wakf (dedicate) myself for jehad. I would like to embrace martyrdom by launching a suicide attack against British and U.S. soldiers. I wish Hafiz Said would set up a force of female fidayeen."

Mohammad Shehzad is an independent journalist based in Islamabad.