The United States on Thursday reiterated its demand to Pakistan to prosecute Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. “We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
The statement comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on January 16 had claimed that there was no case against Saeed, who India alleges was the mastermind of the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. In the interview with local television channel Geo News, Abbasi had also referred to Saeed as “sahib” or “sir”.
Saeed, a United Nations-designated terrorist, was freed from house arrest on November 24 after an order from the Lahore High Court. The United States and India reacted sharply against the verdict. The United States offers a $10 million bounty for Saeed, who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic charity that is widely believed to be a front for terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“He is listed by the United Nations Security Council 1267 (resolution), the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation,” Nauert told reporters. “We have made our points and concerns to the Pakistani government very clear.”
The spokesperson said the US administration believes Saeed was the mastermind behind the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed many people, including Americans. The Donald Trump administration wants Pakistan to make more efforts to address issues related to terrorism, she said.
On Friday, India too criticised Pakistan for turning a blind eye towards the evidence available against Saeed.
“If somebody is a designated global terrorist, it’s done based on a lot of evidence available in public domain,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, according to ANI.
“You can close your eyes, pretend nothing happened but they (Pakistan) have to realise what’s in front of them and take action against such people, who are freely operating from their soil,” Kumar said.
The US on January 4 had suspended annual security assistance worth $1.3 billion (Rs 8,238 crore) to Pakistani military and demanded “decisive action” against Taliban factions based in the country. The Pakistan Army had said on January 12 that it would continue its efforts to fight terrorism without seeking the resumption of the military aid.