Talha Saeed, the son of Hafiz Saeed, head of Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and co-founder of the terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), seems to be following in his father’s footsteps. While his father is the mind behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the US Department of the Treasury’s website says that Talha Saaed “has been a prominent leader within LET since early 2005.”
Talha Hafiz Saeed made it to the Indian news recently because of a video that emerged earlier this month where reports suggest he is inciting a crowd to continue to wage a war of ‘azaadi’ in Kashmir and makes references to Dawood Ibrahim and Burhan Wani. It was the first time that someone linked to a Pakistan-based terror group had directly referenced Dawood Ibrahim.
So Who Is Talha Saeed?
The younger Saeed’s role in the LeT machinery gained prominence in 2012 when Jubair Ahmad, a Pakistani-American Lashkar member, was arrested from Virginia in the US. According to reports, Ahmad had worked on and released a propaganda video for the terror outfit and admitted that he received inputs from Talha Saeed.
The two discussed the content of the video including the text, images and audio. Talha told Ahmad to begin the video with images of his father then show atrocities against Muslims and follow that up with visuals of Mujahideen attacks in Kashmir.
However, he also apparently told Ahmad not to reference the 26/11 attacks in any way as that could serve as evidence to convict Hafiz Saeed for his involvement.
What’s His Role in Lashkar?
The US Treasury website says that Talha has headed LeT’s teacher’s department and has also worked on the group’s websites for its media operations. It adds that he works on propaganda and indoctrination programs, which fits with the role that Jubair Ahmad claimed he played.
It also claims that Saeed founded an LeT front group that was meant for paying journalists to publish stories that showed the group in a positive light.
Since Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest in late January, it is believed that Talha Saeed has stepped into his father’s shoes. This role includes publicising the work of the JuD, which claims to be a charitable organisation and acts as a front for the LeT.
An unverified Twitter account that uses his name has the following tweet pinned to the top:
The Islam of Prophet Muhammad(SAW) condemns extremism (غُلُوّ) and supports moderation in each and every religious obligation.— Hafiz Talha Saeed (@HafizTalhaSaeed) March 2, 2017
And the account reflects a clear anti-India point of view:
In August 2016, Talha Saeed led a JuD caravan up till the LoC and staged a sit-in. According to The Indian Express, he read out his father’s message to the participants and said:
Kashmir will become (part of) Pakistan.