India protests after Pak’s Hafiz Saeed warns of Pathankot-style attacks

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed has warned of more Pathankot-style attacks, prompting India on Thursday to say it “is a matter of great concern” that people like the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind continue to enjoy freedom in Pakistan.

“Hafiz Saeed is an internationally designated terrorist; it is for Pakistan to put a stop to his activities,” the ministry of external affairs said. “It should be a matter of great concern to everyone that people like Hafiz Sayeed continue to enjoy freedom to indulge in their activities.”

Saeed on Wednesday praised the deadly attack on the Pathankot airbase that threatened to scuttle peace efforts between India and Pakistan.

The leader of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) group encouraged further violence following the attack that left seven Indian Army soldiers dead.

Addressing a rally of around a thousand people in the disputed Pakistan-administered Kashmir region, Saeed said: “800,000 Indian troops are committing genocide on Kashmiris. Don’t they have a right to carry out Pathankot style attacks for their defence?”

“You have only seen one attack on Pathankot. Matters could easily escalate.”

Crowds at the rally shouted slogans including “The war will continue until the liberation of Kashmir” and “We are ready for jihad”.

Indian officials say the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed was behind the Pathankot siege.

The airbase attack occurred just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Lahore, raising hopes for peace between the two countries.

Further planned talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries were subsequently postponed from January 15.

Saeed’s freedom and his frequent calls for jihad against India irk New Delhi, which considers JuD — a UN designated “terror organisation” — to be no more than a front for LeT, the militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.

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