BY ROB CRILLY, DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 14, 2012 4:01 AM
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 Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10-million American bounty on his head, touted the British leaders’ bicycle-riding, “Islamic” lifestyle.
Saeed is campaigning to rein in the excesses of Pakistan’s corruption-riddled ruling elite. In a petition lodged with the Lahore High Court, he said Pakistani leaders should look to the British prime minister as a role model and tone down their gilded life of perks and privilege. His petition said 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 apartment 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.
While Cameron and Johnson may be derided as privileged by some opponents at home, their lifestyles are modest by the cash-guzzling standards of Pakistan’s politicians.
Saeed said President Asif Ali Zard-ari recently travelled to Britain by 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 bicycle 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.
It is something of an understatement to say that Saeed is an unlikely champion of British political values. He is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group which has attacked Indian troops in Kashmir.