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US, India Deeply Concerned Over Hafiz Saeed's Release

US, India Deeply Concerned Over Hafiz Saeed's Release

Friday, 24 November, 2017 - 15:30
Hafiz Saeed speaks with supporters after attending Friday Prayers in Lahore, Pakistan November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

The US State Department on Friday said that Washington is “deeply concerned” at the release of Pakistani extremist accused of masterminding a bloody 2008 assault in the Indian city of Mumbai and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.

Hafiz Saeed, who had been under house arrest since January this year for his role in terror activities, was on Friday set free after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any case.

"The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan. LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens," state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes," Nauert said in a statement after the release of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief.

India also expressed concern at Saeed’s release from house arrest, which raised fresh questions as to whether the extremist might enter politics to run a new, unregistered political party founded by his supporters.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs condemned Saeed’s release, saying it showed Pakistan was not serious about prosecuting terrorists.

The JuD leader, who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, was released after his 10-month detention as the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case, in a setback to India's efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack.

In May 2008, the US Department of the Treasury had designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.

Saeed was also individually designated by the UN under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December, 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people, including six American citizens, were killed, Nauert said.

LeT and several of its front organizations, leaders, and operatives remain under both state department and Treasury department sanctions.

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