10 million dollars for the capture of Hafiz Saeed- does this benefit India? Indian agencies do not seem to think so and feel that this would only quieten his agenda against the United States of America, but not against India.
It was the 26/11 attack and the David Headley case files which finally made the United States of America finally take notice of the threat that was the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Indian agencies say that all through India knew about the capabilities of the Lashkar and also their reach, but for the US it was never a designated terrorist outfit. The real threat came out only when they realised that the Saeed led Lashkar was a threat to the US. Moreover the growing interference of Hafiz Saeed in Iraq affairs had also made the US sit up and take notice.
It was in the year 1990 that India began facing the menace of the Lashkar. This outfit was involved in major activities in Kashmir. At this point in time the entire western world including the Americans did not recognise Lashkar as an international organisation. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that at point in time they had pointed out to the US about the threat posed by this outfit. Even when the Lashkar spread its tentacles into the rest of India, we made a similar plea, but it was considered to be a regional terror outfit. The IB officials say that an international terror organisation should not be defined on the basis of number of kilometers it has acquired to strike. What needs to be taken into account is the agenda, the recruitment process, their source of finances and also its networking. All through India knew that the Lashkar had these capabilities and had relied on international funds for the same.
Outcome of the announcement: For India it would really not do anything much according to the experts. On a day to day basis, Saeed would continue going about his business against India and also in Kashmir. However what one could expect is that he would be more mellow when it comes to the affairs of the United States of America. Saeed has been training his guns against the US and has been very outspoken about his agenda against the Americans in the recent past. Now that is something that would change and he is expected to be mellow regarding this agenda.
Saeed would however find himself being torn between his loyalty to the ISI and the necessity of being in the good books of other terror groups. If at all he decides to tow the line of the rest of the terror groups in Pakistan then he could invite a drone attack against him. The US may just seek him out like they did Bin Laden. However it is highly unlikely that Saeed would tow any other line apart from the one chalked out by the ISI.
For the ISI Saeed is a blue eyed boy and far more important than Osama Bin Laden. The ISI has some elements such as these in its fold and another one among them is Masood Azhar. One should look at the manner in which they protected him against the US. When he raised the bar against the US during the Clinton visit, he was kept under house arrest and was prevented from making any statement against the US. Azhar had taken the warning and also the hint and refrained from any major statement against the US.
The case of Saeed will be no different as he is the ISI most useful pawn today. The US decision to announce a reward would certainly affect the ISI policy towards Saeed. Will they give him up? Indian agencies do not seem to think so. The ISI is not going to give him to either India or for that matter even the US. Look at the case of Dawood Ibrahim who has been designated as a terrorist by the US. Have they given him up?
Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the Al-Qaeda after the death of Osama Bin Laden. Every one thought that ten more Osamas would spring up, but that was not to be. Instead the outfit became weaker for the want of a leader. The ISI fears that the same would happen to the Lashkar if Saeed goes. Hence they would deal with him cleverly. Although Saeed may not have the standing that an Osama had, he is today considered to be more brutal and lethal. This is because he enjoys such support from the ISI that he can go around openly preaching at rallies, raising funds and recruiting youth. This freedom that he enjoys has also helped him fish in international waters which has resulted in the Lashkar growing stronger internationally.
C D Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing points out that Saeed will be cleverly managed by the ISI. He is more important than an Osama to the ISI. Every group or leader in Pakistan has at least once been on the back burner due to an altercation with the ISI. However this has not been so in the case of the Lashkar and Saeed. Hence Saeed will continue to do what the ISI tells him to do. More importantly, Saeed is the most useful persons for the ISI as he and the Lashkar has its total commitment to pursue and promote the state agenda against India, “ Sahay also points out.