Families of India terror victims angry at militant's release

Hafiz Saeed

"Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) global 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 and the United Nations classify Saeed's JuD as a terrorist group and it is alleged to be a front organization for LeT, whose attack on Mumbai led to the death of 166 Indians and foreigners.

As the Indian city of Mumbai commemorated the 2008 terror attacks that left 168 people dead, relatives of the victims said Sunday that they're angry Pakistan has released a militant linked to the massacre.

Saeed was set free from house arrest after the Pakistan government rejected to extend his arrest in any case.

Huckabee Sanders said Saeed's release "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", adding that, "If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation".

India has also expressed outrage at the release, saying it appeared to be an attempt by its northern neighbour to "mainstream proscribed terrorists".

Hafiz Saeed also targeted the Pak govt for "taking dictation from foreign masters".

Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty announced by the U.S. for his role in terror activities, made the comment to supporters gathered outside his Lahore residence.

Donald Trump in Florida
ReutersUS President Donald Trump in Florida

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Saturday announced that the USA "strongly condemns" the release from house arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, a Muslim cleric believed to be the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 164 civilians perished, including six occupants of the local Chabad House.

With Beijing financing more than US$55 billion (RM226 billion) of Pakistani infrastructure projects as part of China's Belt and Road initiative, some analysts have suggested that Pakistan can to some extent ignore pressure from the US.

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement but had previously been detained twice briefly following the attacks.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity run by Saeed, said his release was evidence of his innocence.

Saeed, in his late 60s, was under house arrest for 297 days since January.

Like much of Pakistan's establishment, Saeed was virulently anti-India, and campaigned against New Delhi's occupation of the disputed territory of Kashmir for years.

"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris".




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