Ved Pratap Vaidik's meeting with Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Lahore has embarrassed the nation.
Indian news has been abuzz with the meeting of Ved Pratap Vaidik with an internationally wanted Pakistani terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, while on a private trip to Pakistan. Much has been spoken on the rather unsavoury subject over the past few days, especially on the news channels. The Government of India, under fire from opposition, has tersely disassociated itself from the meeting. The embarrassment of the government is compounded by the fact that even though Vaidik holds no political office, he is known to be ideologically associated with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Experts feel that the kind of attention that the issue is getting is unwarranted. It is best to put the matter at rest but not before comprehensively listing the lesson learnt.
Having himself created the storm Vaidik is quite unrepentant about the meeting. He insists that he went for the meeting with the purpose of “Analysing the mind of Hafiz Saeed about India and to understand what makes him commit such heinous crimes against India.” He also wants the country to believe that he met Hafiz Saeed after gaining enough information about the latter’s “humanitarian activities”.
While the Indian press is going overboard in decrying the meeting, the Pakistan media is having a time of its life. It is giving out “structured inputs” that portray India as rigid and dogmatic in its approach towards Kashmir. and is portraying Saeed as a maligned innocent in the entire incident.
Saeed has expressed “shock” in the media over the “Reaction of the Indian politicians to the meeting that exposes the true face of India veiled behind a so-called secular demeanour.” The reaction has been taken from a prominent English newspaper of Pakistan – The Daily Times.
Much is known about Hafiz Saeed and his terrorist organisation the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) whose main objective is the disintegration of India. The US has acknowledged his terrorist activities and put a $10 million bounty on his head. But Pakistan has always project him as the head of a charitable organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) which is supposedly dedicated to the spread of true teachings of Islam and establishment of a pure and peaceful society. It is said LeT head plays the role of a benevolent patriarch to the hilt.
Saeed addresses peace congregations and speaks of brotherhood while eloquently articulating the active participation of JuD in relief and assistance to victims of natural disasters, internal displacements and other calamities. Significantly, he also leads the anti-India assault of fundamentalists in Pakistan, especially through the Urdu press. The focus is unmistakably to create an environment of hatred on religious grounds.
The Pakistani terrorist makes no bones in declaring his aversion and enmity for Hinduism and Judaism: He repeatedly declares the two religions to be enemies of Islam and swears to wipe them out from the face of the earth. He asserts that India is creating a Sunni-Shia rift in Pakistan and India is behind the problems in Baluchistan. But despite his tall claims, the true face of JuD is now known to the international community; the US State Department on June, 26, 2014, imposed a ban on the organisation for being a front for the LeT. Even the United Nations, in 2008, declared JuD a front for LeT.
In his capacity of being a journalist, albeit semi-retired and out of the mainstream, Vaidik has the right to meet all persons across the spectrum that he is engaged with. One, however, wonders as to how he could control his revulsion while coming face to face with a person like Hafiz Saeed who harbours so much venom against his country. The justification for the meeting that he is now presenting and the outcome that he is talking about is something that the nation is finding rather difficult to digest. If his action was designed to get the people of the two countries closer to each other, he has failed miserably. He has, instead, caused considerable embarrassment to his country and his government. If Ved Prakash Vaidik or anybody else feels that terrorist leaders in Pakistan, the likes of Hafiz Saeed, can be deviated from their goal, they are living in a fool’s paradise. To meet them and speak to them can serve no purpose other than causing embarrassment to the nation. This is the enduring lesson that has been learnt from the unseemly and unfortunate incident.
-Jaibans Singh (The writer is the Editor of www.defenceinfo.com)