Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed’s name did not feature in the list of 75 militants that the United States had handed over to Islamabad, reported The Express Tribune.
The list was passed on during US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Pakistan on Tuesday. “The Haqqani network is on the top of the list but none of the militants are Pakistanis,” he told senators at the Parliament’s Upper House.
Saeed – the alleged mastermind behind the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 – was detained by Pakistan’s Punjab government and put under house arrest for 90 days on January 31. Since then, his detention period has been extended multiple times, the latest on October 19.
Saeed heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic charity, widely viewed as a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The United Nations Security Council labelled the Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader a terrorist front in 2008. The US offers a $10-million bounty for Saeed.
Asif said Pakistan has told the US that it no longer had any influence over the Afghan Taliban. “Neither are we supporting them [Afghan Taliban], nor do they need our help,” he added. “Somebody else is sponsoring them now.”
Asif’s comments come a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told Tillerson that Islamabad had “produced results” in the fight against terrorism. “We are committed in the war against terror,” Abbasi said. “The US can be rest assured that we are strategic partners in the war against terror, and that today, Pakistan is fighting the largest war in the world against terror.”
Pakistan’s relationship with the US has been under the spotlight in recent weeks, with diplomats taking differing stands on different occasions. On October 14, US President Donald Trump said Washington was beginning to build a better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders, a day after Pakistan rescued an American-Canadian family from the Haqqani network. This was a clear departure from what Trump said in August when he accused Islamabad of protecting terrorists. Earlier in October, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also pointed out that Pakistan must shut its safe havens for terrorists.