US warns Pak of 'repercussions' if it fails to act against Hafiz Saeed
Washington: The US has demanded the immediate re-arrest and prosecution of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, warning Islamabad that there would be "repercussions" for bilateral ties if it fails to take "decisive action" against the notorious terrorist.
The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head, who carries a $10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free on Friday after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case.
He was under house arrest since January this year.
In a strongly worded statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Saturday said the US strongly condemns the release of the Lashkar-e-Taiba leader from house arrest and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.
"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," Sanders said, reflecting the Trump administration's outrage at Saeed's release.
She said 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. "As President Donald Trump's South Asia policy makes clear, the US 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," she said.
She said 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."
The White House press secretary said LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation responsible
for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens.
Saeed himself is a notorious terrorist who is accused of having masterminded the November 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans, she said.