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27 November 2017, 01:06 | Simon Arnold
Pakistan frees Hafiz Saeed, alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks
India on Friday warned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed to be prepared for a "resounding response" as he pledged to continue "jihad" in Jammu and Kashmir after a Pakistani court ended his 10 months of house arrest. Saeed is suspected of masterminding coordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people in 2008.
USA administration has expressed "deep concern" on the release of designated terrorist: Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and founder of Jamaat-ud-Dawah Hafiz Saeed by Pakistani authorities and asked Islamabad to ensure his re-arrest and slap charge for his crimes.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, who carries a $10 million U.S. bounty for his role in terrorist activities, was let go after Thursday midnight by Pakistani authorities in Lahore after a court refused to extend his house arrest citing lack of evidence.
The US reaction came hours after Saeed's release from house arrest in Lahore.
"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", the statement added. The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction.
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.
Meanwhile, India has termed the release "an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists". "Since 2012, the United States has offered a US $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice". He said he would ask India's government to raise the matter with the United Nations. Police guards have been removed from his residence where a large number of supporters gathered to celebrate the end of his house arrest.
Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement but had previously been detained twice briefly following the attacks.
"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris".
While some in Pakistan may wish to see Mr Saeed placed on trial, there is widespread suspicion among Indian and U.S. officials that he still retains close links to the country's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which has been long blamed for sponsoring numerous cross-border attacks on Indian targets.
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.
The campaign appeared to produce some success this year when Pakistani security forces assisted with the release of a Taliban-held US-Canadian family after five years in captivity.
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