Hafiz Saeed walks free, says he will fight for 'Kashmir cause'
24 November, 2017, 01:48 | Author: Edward Snyder
He was under detention since January this year.
However, Saeed's four aides were set free last month. His actions have been a major irritant in Pakistan's traditionally uneasy relations with the US and a major source of sustained tensions with India.
Asserting that Hafiz Saeed's release confirms Pakistan's policy of shielding "non-state actors", the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that it reflects Islamabad's "lack of seriousness" to act against "proscribed terrorists".
Ten LeT militants killed 166 people and wounded hundreds in Mumbai in November, 2008.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attacks.
Saeed told the media on Wednesday that an end to his detention was tantamount to a victory of truth and called the decision "a serious blow" to India's demands that he be kept in custody and punished for the 2008 massacre.
On Wednesday (November 22), exactly four days before the ninth anniversary of the deadly terror attacks, the Lahore High Court in Pakistan chose to set free Saeed. The court ruled the government could not produce sufficient evidence to justify his detention.
Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif had himself said "Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba are a liability for us", but these same leaders will now say that they have no control over courts which have released the terror mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
In May 2008, the United States had designated Saeed as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" under Executive Order 13224.
In a rare interview in 2014, Hafiz Saeed told the BBC he had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks, calling evidence against him "just propaganda" by India.
The JuD chief said that the United States, on India's request, pressured Pakistan to detain him. "There is a lot of celebration and happiness within our ranks, and we are proud that we have been able to get justice the legal way, through the courts".
But, in a significant development earlier this month, the U.S. Congress changed a provision in a defense bill that would have required Islamabad to take steps to "significantly disrupt" the activities of both LeT and the Haqqani network.
Mocking India's opposition to his release, he said that Delhi did everything it can to keep him arrested but all its efforts have been wasted.
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