–Saeed calls ousted premier Nawaz Sharif a ‘traitor’ for seeking peace with India
LAHORE/WASHINGTON: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest on Friday after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected the Punjab government’s request to extend his detention, much to the dismay of the United States which has urged the Pakistani government to “arrest Saeed and charge him for his crimes”.
“The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Seed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Friday.
“The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.”
Hafiz Saeed has been under house arrest since January this year and was detained after immense pressure on the federal government by the US and severe reservations by India.
In May 2008, the United States Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.
Saeed was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which six American citizens were also killed.
The JuD chief, who has a $10 million US bounty on his head, was freed earlier in the day from 11 months of house arrest by the Lahore High Court, which said there was no evidence to hold him.
Meanwhile, India has termed the release “an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists”.
“India, as indeed the entire international community, is outraged that a self-confessed and a UN proscribed terrorist is allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda,” Raveesh Kumar, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters at a weekly briefing in New Delhi on Thursday.
‘NAWAZ IS A TRAITOR’:
Meanwhile, addressing supporters at the JuD headquarters at Jamia Qadsia after Friday prayers, Hafiz Saeed called ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif a ‘traitor’ for seeking peace with India.
The JuD chief said Nawaz deserved to be removed for his peace overtures with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted? I tell him he was ousted because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with Modi, killers of thousands of Muslims,” Saeed said.