Thursday, 18 January, 2018

USA calls on Pakistan to arrest recently freed Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan frees Hafiz Saeed, alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks US calls upon Pakistan to arrest and charge Hafiz Saeed 'for his crimes'
Lillian Steele | 26 November, 2017, 01:28

"The Pakistani government now has an opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness in confronting all forms of terrorism, without distinction, by arresting and charging Hafiz Saeed for his crimes", the White House said.

"LeT is a designated foreign terrorist organisation responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens", U.S. state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, adding: "The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes".

It is rare for the USA government to issue a statement during the Thanksgiving holidays but the State Department felt that the issue was urgent enough to ignore this tradition.

"Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) worldwide terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil", the White House said in a statement.

The US Treasury Department branded the LeT chief a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in May 2008 and in December 2008 the United Nations also designated him a "militant individual".

On November 26, 2008, ten LeT operatives entered Mumbai by sea and launched a coordinated gun-and-bomb assault on multiple sites in India's most populous metropolis, killing 166 people - including six Jews at Nariman House. The US has also put a $10 million bounty on Saeed's head.

In an hour-long Friday sermon at the JuD headquarters, Saeed warned the Pakistan government against taking "dictation from foreign masters" to appease India. "Nine years after 26/11, its mastermind still eludes justice".

"This could move the USA closer to adapting a largely symbolic but nonetheless major punitive step - the revocation of Pakistan's non-NATO ally status, which would be a big reputational blow for Pakistan", Kugelman said.

President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of harboring "agents of chaos" and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against a US -backed government in Kabul.

"Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted?"

"Hafiz Saeed was under house arrest on baseless allegations and jail officials came to his home last night and told him that he is now free", he said. Sharif is ousted from the prime minister house because he committed treason with Kashmiris.

He said that Pakistan's resolve, actions and successes in the fight against terrorism, terrorist violence and terrorists are unmatched in the world. He said that his only crime was that he wanted Kashmir's freedom from India and he was arrested for the same.

Saeed blamed India for his incarceration in Pakistan, saying "Pakistan's rulers detained me on the aspiration of Modi due to their friendship with him".

But the White House denounced the move and said it could damage US-Pakistan relations.

Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir "is and will remain an integral part" of India, it said that such repeated utterances by terrorists have been given an appropriate response on the ground every time by the law enforcement agencies and the people of the state.

Saeed, right after his release had said that he will continue to work for the cause of Kashmir. However he avoided to elaborate.

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