US calls on Pakistan to arrest freed Mumbai terrorist

White House warns Pakistan that failure to charge Mumbai terrorist for his crimes will 'have repercussions for bilateral relations.'

Contact Editor
Chana Roberts,

Pakistan
Pakistan
iStock

The US government on Friday issued a statement calling on Pakistan to arrest freed Mumbai terrorist Hafiz Saeed and try him for terrorism.

Saeed is the mastermind behind terror attacks by 10 Pakistani terrorists on 12 targets in India over a period of four days. 166 people died in the attacks, including several Americans.

One of the attacks was on Mumbai's Chabad House, where nine people were brutally murdered. The bodies of the Israelis among them, including Chabad emissaries Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, showed evidence of torture. The Holtzberg's young son was hidden by his Indian nurse who managed to escape with him.

Saeed was released on Friday, after spending ten months under house arrest.

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

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

A statement from the White House read, "[Hafiz] Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) international terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil. 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."

"As President Donald Trump's South Asia policy makes clear, the United States seeks a constructive relationship with Pakistan, but expects decisive action against militant and terrorist groups on Pakistani soil that are a threat to the region.

"The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction. The Pakistani government now has an opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness in confronting all forms of terrorism, without distinction, by arresting and charging Hafiz Saeed for his crimes."

In 2008, the US designated Saeed as a global terrorist, under executive order 13224. The United Nations Security Council's Resoultion 1267 also designated him as a terrorist.

Saeed has consistently denied any connection to the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead, including several Americans. According to him, his only crime is "wanting Kashmir's freedom from India," and that is the reason he was arrested.

When Pakistan fought to take control of the Kashmir region, Kashmir's ruler turned to India for help. India agreed, on condition the ruler accede to India. This condition was accepted by Kashmir's ruler, but resulted in three further wars between India and Pakistan. Currently, India administers 60% of the region, Pakistan 30%, and China the remaining 10%.








top