Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, founder of the dreaded Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), led a prayer Monday for slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Lahore, Pakistan. Bin Laden was killed Sunday night by U.S. Special Forces in the garrison town of Abottabad, 35 miles north of Pakistan's capital Islamabad.
Saeed founded the LeT in the 1990s, reportedly with support from Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, as part of the Pakistani government's efforts to wage proxy war against rival India in Kashmir. He relinquished leadership of the LeT after the group was implicated in an attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and subsequently banned by the Pakistani government in 2002. He then went on to found the Islamist charity Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD) as a front for the LeT. The State Department has designated the JuD as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) and the organization has been sanctioned by the UN for its association with al-Qaida.
At prayers held for bin Laden at Markaz Al-Qadsia, JuD's headquarters in Lahore, Saeed hailed the al-Qaida leader as a "great person" who would continue to inspire millions of Muslims around the world.
"Martyrdom are not losses, but are a matter of pride for Muslims," Saeed said. "Osama bin Laden has rendered great sacrifices for Islam and Muslims, and these will always be remembered."
"Allah accept the sacrifice of bin Laden and give him a place in heaven," he added.
Saeed is a key suspect in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans. In a recent statement, Saeed claimed that India cannot prove JuD's links to the Mumbai attacks. He also accused the Pakistan government of being "spineless and succumbing" to pressure from the U.S. and India to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.