Hafiz Saeed's JuD has floated a political party named Milli Muslim League

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s military establishment is attempting to remodel proscribed terrorist groups as political entities, with the state remaining a mute spectator to attempts by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) to contest parliamentary polls – this was the topic of discussion at a recently held conference at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

The conference, held on March 16, was organised to draw the attention of the international community to this dangerous development which poses a threat to the entire subcontinent and beyond.

Speakers at the conference, including European Union MPs, alleged that the Pakistan government and its institutions had lately turned a mute spectator to the UN designated terrorist group JuD not only floating a political party, Milli Muslim League, but also contesting elections to a few parliamentary seats.

The conference was moderated by Brian Toll, a former policy coordinator for Asia at the European Commission, who in his opening remarks said that Pakistan had acquired a reputation as a nation that was in the forefront of sponsoring terrorism.

Toll said that it was well known that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the JuD were involved in terrorist activities including the Mumbai attacks, where a number of Europeans had been killed, and that any forward movement on these groups taking over political power in Pakistan would have severe security repercussions internationally.

Fulvio Martusciello, a member of European Parliament, said that Pakistan lacked commitment to tackling home-grown terrorists and that in spite of international pressure the situation had shown no improvement. He said that for years Pakistan had been living in denial, while allowing Islamic extremist groups to freely carry out their activities and raise funding in the country apart from radicalising the masses. He said it was high time the European Union and the UN took stringent action against Pakistan.

Henri Louis Malousse, 30th president of the European Economic and Social Committee, said in his speech that over the years Pakistan had received massive aid.

from the international community for its “war on terror”. However, he said, it was now obvious that Pakistan’s efforts to fighting terrorist had been an eyewash and the country had continued to patronise terrorist groups for its strategic goals.

Had Pakistan shown even some degree of seriousness to fight terrorists, designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed would not roam freely on the streets of Pakistan, Malousse said and called upon the international community to hold Pakistan responsible for using terrorist groups as proxies to further its own interests.

The conference concluded that the dangerous trend of terrorist groups being gradually brought into the political mainstream at the behest of the Pakistani military establishment needed to be nipped in the bud to prevent legitimising of terrorism.