It is hardly the sort of endorsement that Britain’s Conservative elite would want – or expect.
But one of the world’s most feared terrorist chiefs has professed his admiration for British PM David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson’s bike-riding, ‘Islamic’ lifestyles as he launches a campaign to rein in the excesses of Pakistan’s corruption-riddled ruling elite.
Hafiz Saeed, who carries a $10 million (Rs 55 crore) American bounty on his head, said Pakistani leaders should look to the British prime minister as a role model and tone down their gilded life of perks and privilege.
In a petition lodged with the Lahore High Court, he noted that while Pakistan’s public officers were ‘living like kings and princes in palatial government houses’, Britain’s Prime Minister lived in a four-bedroom flat in a street dating back to the 17th century.
“When the sun never set on the British Empire, the chief executive of that great country lived in the same house of a few marlas [a fraction of an acre] in a small street. That is truly Islamic, that is like following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him),” he wrote in the petition.
Saeed pointed out that President Asif Ali Zardari recently travelled to the UK aboard a private jet at vast expense to the Pakistani state.
In contrast, he said the Mayor of London was famous for cycling to work while Cameron had also used a bike before becoming Prime Minister.
Although they might not be Muslims, Saeed said Britain’s leaders were following an Islamic lifestyle by travelling in trains and buses rather than private helicopters or VIP motorcades.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group which has launched attacks on Indian troops in Kashmir.
In May, the US offered $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction for his alleged role in the 26/11 2008 Mumbai attacks that left more than 166 people dead.