Pak justifies Saeed's release, says committed to United Nations sanctions on terrorists

Sunday, 26 Nov, 2017

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, who carries a $10 million U.S. bounty for his role in terrorist activities, was let go after Thursday midnight by Pakistani authorities in Lahore after a court refused to extend his house arrest citing lack of evidence. Saeed's spokesman Yahya Mujahid called it a "victory of truth".

According to him, it was under US' pressure that the Pakistani government obliged to place him under detention.

"The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Seed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Friday.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Saeed's release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN.

Mr Saeed, 68, has always denied being being the multi-target attack on Mumbai that left close to 170 people dead.

He is a United Nations and US-designated terrorist.

He has insisted that his organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, is involved exclusively in charitable activities. "Recent statements of Saeed are simply a re-articulation of the agenda of terrorist constituency which thrives across the border", the official said. Members say the JuD is a charity but the United States says it is a front for the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group.

The JuD Head and LeT Founder, who has a Dollars 10 million American bounties on his head for terror activities, was freed by Pakistan yesterday. "The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region".

Describing the release of Hafiz Saeed as a step in the wrong direction, the U.S. today said Pakistan now has an opportunity to "demonstrate its seriousness" in the fight against terrorism by "arresting and charging" the 26/11 mastermind for his crimes. Police guards have been removed from his residence where a large number of supporters gathered to celebrate the end of his house arrest.

Pakistan argues that it has done a great deal to help the United States in tracking down terrorists. The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction.

"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris. I was arrested for it", he had said after his release. They are believed to have links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment.

In a brief media interaction after offering Friday prayer, the JuD chief also narrated his version as to why Nawaz Sharif was disqualified.

The White House's comments came as police in Pakistan launched an operation to clear Islamist protesters from an intersection linking the Pakistani capital with the city of Rawalpindi, sparking other demonstrators across the country to take to the streets in solidarity.