Thursday, 20 January, 2022
HomeOpinionHafiz Saeed lost Pakistan election, but could win India's 2019

Hafiz Saeed lost Pakistan election, but could win India’s 2019

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Hindutva WhatsApp groups say Hafiz Saeed is supporting the Congress party for 2019.

There’s been considerable schadenfreude over the terrorist attacks during Pakistan elections in Uttar Pradesh-based Hindutva WhatsApp groups, such as in this message: “Those who say India has become a dangerous country (under Modi), ask them about Pakistan, where 3-400 people have died in blasts during the elections alone”.

There was considerable happiness, even a sense of relief, that Hafiz Saeed didn’t win any seats. One message read, “Inshallah, we will take Kashmir from India, said Hafiz Saeed. Poor guy, Allah didn’t give him a single seat and he talks about taking Kashmir!”

This sense of relief among pro-BJP groups is understandable. Saeed’s win would have created another headache for the Modi government and made it look helpless in its inability to convince Islamabad to contain anti-India extremists.

Also read: Pakistan seen headed for instability as Imran Khan emerges frontrunner amid poll rigging charges

As a message read, “Whether Imran Khan becomes Pakistan’s prime minister or Nawaz Sharif or Hafiz Saeed, we don’t care. India is not ruled by Moni (silent) Baba anymore, but by Modi ji.”

Many viral messages suggest that PM Narendra Modi is popular with the Pakistani population. One such message said, “In Pakistan, Imran Khan praised Modi. So he won the election. Hafiz Saeed praised Congress, so he couldn’t win a single seat!”

Hafiz Saeed in Lok Sabha

The Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek party, a proxy front of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been defeated outright in the Pakistan elections. The man behind the effort, Saeed, is wanted in India for the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Saeed may have lost in Pakistan but could win in India, goes the joke on these WhatsApp groups. 

While the Modi government has been unable to neutralise Hafiz, these Hindutva WhatsApp groups have for long been obsessed with linking Saeed to domestic politics. And, the Pakistan elections have given these efforts considerable boost.

The belief is that Pakistan’s electoral system works just like India’s. The lower house of their Parliament is also called Lok Sabha and has 272 seats, which is exactly the half of what the (Indian) Lok Sabha has. 

One message read, “Hafiz Saeed won not a single seat out of 272 Lok Sabha seats. This proves that the Pakistani people are smarter than the Indian people. I bet if Hafiz Saeed had fought Indian elections, he would have won at least 20 seats. The real harms are Indians.”

Another message said, “How could Hafiz Saeed have won in Pakistan when his supporters and fans are in India?”

Since these are UP-based WhatsApp groups, UP politics is not far behind. One message read, “There has been a fight between Mayawati and Hafiz Saeed. Both claim Aryabhatta had invented the zero for them.”

One message targeting Mayawati read, “Over here, the devi of reservations, Mayawati, won zero seats. Over there, the devta of terrorism, Hafiz Saeed, won zero seats. The meaning is clear. People are becoming enlightened.”

Hafiz Saeed hand in Congress party

The principal target of Saeed-linked messages is the Congress party, which is sought to be presented not just as a party of Muslims but Muslim terrorists. One message read, “Hafiz Saeed was a fool that he contested elections in Pakistan. Had he contested in India instead, he would have realised that by promising freebies and doing an alliance with the Congress, he could have won at least 2-4 seats because there are many dalals here who live off India but praise Pakistan.”

And here’s another: “The good news is that the Congress is in a shock over Hafiz Saeed’s defeat. Pappu Khan has decided to sack Hafiz Saeed and has sent Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor to Pakistan to prepare a report on the reason for Hafiz Saeed’s defeat. The report is to be submitted to Digvijaya Singh.”

This obsession with Saeed is not related to Pakistan elections alone. It is an old one. Saeed is the new Dawood Ibrahim. 

Here’s a video that’s been circulating on these groups for months: 

Similarly, here’s an old question that does the rounds on these groups, “Have you ever heard Rahul Gandhi condemn ISIS, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Muslim League, Dawood Ibrahim, or terrorism?” 

Not just the Congress and Mayawati, soon the entire opposition will be clubbed with Hafiz Saeed. A message read, “After looking at the picture of the Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance), I felt only one person was missing: Hafiz Saeed.”

Another message attempts to paint Indian Muslim leaders with the same brush as Pakistani terrorists: “Muslims are afraid only of Allah, says who? In India, everyone from Hafiz Saeed to Asaduddin Owaisi, Syed Salahuddin to Zakir Naik is afraid of Narendra Modi.” It ends with the hashtag #IndWidModi. 

One old message reads, “Such is the political climate these days that if the BJP were to say Hafiz Saeed is a bad guy, the Congress would jump at that and say, no he’s out Abba (father), he established the 26/11 festival.”

The Modi government may not be able to persuade Pakistan to prosecute and hand over Saeed, but his very existence is used to make the BJP-RSS look better. Here’s one example, “Everyone in India knows the country is under threat from Pakistan, China and Hafiz Saeed. But the haramkhors in this country think India is under threat only from Modi, BJP and RSS.”

Also read: Resurfacing of Islamist parties is meant to stop Nawaz Sharif from coming back to power

The slightest of routine government action in Kashmir is made to sound like a setback to Saeed. For instance, this message said, “NIA has brought (Kashmiri separatist leader) Asiya Andrabi to Delhi for questioning for 10 days. She is like a sister to Hafiz Saeed. The Congress used to be afraid of touching even her shadow. The Congress and other blind opponents of the Modi government often ask what the Modi government has done. Where is the 56-inch chest? Look at this (Asiya Andrabi’s questioning), dekh lo chamcho, tin ka chashma saja ke, ankh mein kajal surma bhopali ka daal ke.’ 

Those last words are untranslatable. 

Going by these trends, Saeed is likely to play a greater role in the Indian general elections next year than he did in the Pakistan elections. 

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  1. My heart tells me Hafiz Saeed will prove to be as much of a dud in India as he has in Pakistan. 2019 will be a tough election, fought on real issues, not on What’sApp forwards.

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