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Pakistan justifies Hafiz Saeed's release, U.S. warns of repercussions

Pakistan justifies Hafiz Saeed's release, U.S. warns of repercussions

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", read the statement.

"Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see", an Indian government spokesperson said on Thursday.

Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and 26/11 Mumbai terror attack instigator Hafiz Saeed on Friday criticized ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for committing "treason" by in quest of companionship with neighboring India and disregards the "Kashmir cause" after releasing from house arrest in Lahore. The court said that government has failed to provide enough evidences against Saeed.

Reminding Islamabad that the USA had specially designated Saeed as a "global terrorist" way back in May 2008, Nauert also pointed out that the LeT chief was separately designated by the United Nations in December the same year following the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Following the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which six American citizens were also killed, Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million USA bounty on his head, was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008. "LeT and several of its front organizations, leaders, and operatives remain under both State Department and Treasury Department sanctions", read the statement.

Lashkar-i-Taiba and its leaders remain subject to United States sanctions and the government has offered a US$10 million reward for information that brings him to justice.

The US president Donald Trump in August accused Islamabad of harbouring "agents of chaos" while secretary of state Rex Tillerson said too many extremists were finding sanctuary in Pakistan.

Saeed was placed under house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, in January, in keeping with Pakistan's antiterrorism laws. In his first address after being released, Saeed blamed India and the United States for detention and he also raked up Kashmir.

Sanders says the release "sends a deeply troubling message" about Pakistan's commitment to combatting terrorism. "I want Kashmir's freedom from India and this is my crime".

India-Pakistan relations are already at a low ebb, particularly under the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, but Saeed's release will reinforce the view from New Delhi that peace talks would be pointless while the military is allegedly overpowering civilian institutions, Pant said. He also warned ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) against bowing before the global community for loans and said, "The rulers must not take dictation from the U.S. and other countries and take its own decisions". The US escalated its criticism of Pakistan's decision to set free the alleged mastermind of the deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai, with the White House warning that the move may damage bilateral relations.


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