Washington, January 19: The United States on Thursday rejected Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's latest remarks on global terrorist and 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and further made clear that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert during a press briefing 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."
"Many of you may recall we talked about this a couple of weeks ago, about who this individual is. We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organization. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed many people, including Americans as well," Heather Nauert added.
The Spokesperson further noted that Washington has conveyed its concern to Pakistan as the U S believes Saeed 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," Nauert added.
However, Nauert further emphasized that Saeed is listed by the United Nations Security Council 1267, the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targetted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is a designated foreign terrorist organization. "So I just want to remind people of that, of who this individual is, and make it clear that we have addressed our concerns with the Pakistani Government," Nauert concluded.
The statement from US State Department comes after Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a recent interview to Geo TV said that there was no case registered against Saeed in Islamabad and without it, action cannot be initiated against him. Pakistan has earlier also claimed that India has provided no evidence against Saeed on the basis of which he can be prosecuted.
Hafiz Saeed had been accused by the United States and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people. In 2012, the United States announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the attack in which six American citizens were also killed.
But Jamaat-ud-Dawah Chief had earlier said, his organization will contest the general elections under the banner of the Milli Muslim League, which is yet to be registered with the Election Commission. Difah-e-Pakistan Council is an umbrella group of 40 religious and extremist groups in Pakistan, headed by the JuD chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Saeed used the rally to call for an "Islamic summit" to defend Jerusalem from Israel.