Islamabad: Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed appeared to lose his cool on a Pakistani TV talk show on Thursday when Indian parliamentarian Mani Shankar Aiyar confronted him and said he should be arrested and brought before a terrorism court. Saeed is the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
While Aiyar was in the studio in Islamabad with another panelist, the host of the show suddenly introduced Saeed on a phone link. Responding to a question from the host, the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder listed his reasons for opposing improved trade relations with India. He also raised objections over the grant of "Most Favoured Nation" status to India.
"Giving India MFN status is not correct in any manner because there are already big problems that haven't been resolved, including the Kashmir issue. At this moment, the dams being made by India will create a crisis in Pakistan," Saeed claimed. He further added that he had "never opposed talks" with India but the neighbouring country "has never seriously tried to resolve problems".
Aiyar, currently on a private visit to Pakistan, responded to this by saying that Saeed was part of a "small group" that opposed better ties with India while ordinary people wanted relations between the two countries to grow.
"There are some persons like Hafiz Saeed in our country who do not want things to move forward but thankfully the ordinary people want our ties to improve. We can improve our relations irrespective of what his (Saeed's) opinion is.
"We want him to be caught and taken to a terrorism court," he said.
Story first published:
February 03, 2012 09:21 IST