Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of banned militant outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed has asked Ministry of Interior to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
In a letter to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, in which 166 people died, said: “A memorandum issued on January 30, 2017 placing 38 individuals should be withdrawn forthwith.”
The government last month put Saeed and 37 other leaders of JuD and his Falah-e-Insaniyat charity on Exit Control List. It also put Saeed and four other leaders of the organisations under "house arrest" for 90 days for engaging in activities "prejudicial" to peace and security.
Additionally, the Interior Ministry had put JuD and Falah-e-Insaniyat on a "watch-list" for six months.
But Saeed contended the government decisons saying: "The JuD has never been involved in any terrorist activity in Pakistan and no incident of any terrorism or destruction of property was ever alleged against the organisation."
He argued that no material has ever been produced by federal or provincial governments against him in a court of law.
While the motive pointed out at that time was varied and unconvincing, reports now suggest that the militant may be silently moving to register his group as a political party in the Muslim-majority nation.
According to a media report, the move is aimed at preventing militants of the outfit from joining other notorious terror organisations including Islamic State (ISIS).
A report, prepared by James M Dorsey of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and Azaz Syed, a prominent Pakistani journalist, claims that the idea behind converting the JuD into a political party has been in the news for some years in the country.
"JuD sources said its transition to a political party was in part designed to stop cadres from joining the Islamic State (IS). Nearly 500 JuD activists had left the group to join more militant organisations, including the IS. The defections often occurred after the Pakistani military launches operations against militants in areas such as South Waziristan," said the report.
The development comes few days after reports claimed that Saeed has renamed his group as 'Tehreek Azadi Jammu and Kashmir'. Saeed was on January 30 put under house arrest by the Pakistani authorities following pressure from the US.
(With inputs from PTI)