Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is the amir (leader) of the Jama'at-ud-Da'wah widely considered to be a cover organization for militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India considers him one of its most wanted terrorists. According to Hafiz Saeed, he has no links with LeT.
Background In 1950, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was born in Sargodha to a conservative Pakistani Punjabi family. His family lost 36 of its members when migrating from Shimla to Lahore during the partition of India and Pakistan. He has a wife Maimoona.
General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq appointed Saeed to the Council on Islamic Ideology, and he later served as an Islamic Studies teacher at the University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), Pakistan. He was sent to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s by the university for higher studies where he met Saudi Sheikhs who were taking part in the Afghan jihad.
They inspired him to join his colleague, Professor Zafar Iqbal, in taking an active role supporting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. There he met some youth who later became his companions. In 1987 Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, along with Abdullah Azzam, founded Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad, a group with roots in the Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis. This organization spawned the jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1990, with the help of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence officers. It was based in Pakistan before 9/11 and was transferred to Kashmir after.
Lashkar's primary target is the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir although Saeed has spoken of "liberating" Hyderabad State and Junagadh from Indian rule as well. Detentions in 2002 Pakistan detained Saeed on December 21, 2001 in relation to Indian accusations of his involvement with the December 13, 2001 attack on the Lok Sabha. He was held until March 31, 2002, arrested again on May 15, and was placed under house arrest on October 31 of the same year.
Detentions in 2006 After the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the provincial government of Punjab, Pakistan arrested him on August 9, 2006 and kept him under house arrest but he was released on August 28, 2006 after a Lahore High Court order. He was arrested again on the same day by the provincial government and was kept in the Canal Rest House in Sheikhupura. He was finally released after the Lahore High Court order on October 17, 2006.
Since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India has submitted a formal request to the U.N. Security Council to put the group Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Saeed on the list of individuals and organizations sanctioned by the United Nations for being associated with terrorism. It accuses the organization and its leader, Saeed, of being virtually interchangeable with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
India says that the close links between the organizations, as well as the 2,500 offices and 11 seminaries that Jamaat-ud-Dawa maintains in Pakistan, "are of immediate concern with regard to their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate terrorist activities."On December 10, 2008 Saeed denied a link between LeT and JuD in an interview with Pakistan's Geo television stating that "no Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba."
On Thursday 11 December Hafiz Mohammed Saeed was again placed under house arrest as he is accused of having links to the Mumbai attacks which killed at least 170 people. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is listed as one of the most wanted persons in India because of his ties with Lashkar-e-Toiba and its alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has said that this is another attack against Islam.