The United States has said that the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as Washington regards him as a terrorist.
Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the US Department of State told media representatives during a regular press briefing on Friday that the US made its points and concerns clear to the Pakistani government in this regard.
“We have made our points and our concerns to the Pakistani government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted. The Pakistani government released him from house arrest not that long ago. We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Nauert.
The White House has already clarified that there would be repercussions for US-Pakistan relations unless Islamabad takes action to detain and charge Saeed.
Saeed was released last year after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected the government’s request seeking a further extension in his house arrest. The review board of the court said there was not sufficient evidence to keep the JuD chief under house arrest.
The JuD and four of his aides were detained in January 2017 after the government told a court they presented a threat to peace and security. The move was largely attributed to US pressure.
Commenting on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement that Saeed was freed because there were no charges against him and that he could be charged internationally if there was substance to the accusations against him, Nauert said, “So we’ve certainly seen the reports about this, that the Pakistani government has said that no case has been registered against this individual, Hafiz Saeed Sahib.”
“We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed many people, including Americans as well.”
The US Department of State spokesperson continued, “We have made our points and our concerns to the Pakistani Government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted. The Pakistani Government released him from house arrest not that long ago. We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In May 2008, the United States Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. Saeed was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSC R1267 in December 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which six American citizens were killed.
It said Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and several of its front organisations, leaders, and operatives remain under both State Department and Treasury Department sanctions. Since 2012, the United States has offered a $10 million reward for information bringing Saeed to justice.
Amid increasing pressure from the US, however, Pakistan also recently started a decisive move against proscribed organisations, including Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and its subsidiary Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). Fundraising and other activities by proscribed organisations and their subsidiaries have been banned under Section-144 in Islamabad.
The Lahore High Court on Wednesday had ordered Saeed’s release
The JuD chief spoke at Friday prayers after being freed earlier in the day
Saeed's son-in-law says US wants Hafiz Saeed to be rearrested only because of pressure from India