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Pakistan justifies Hafiz Saeed's release, United States warns of repercussions

Pakistan justifies Hafiz Saeed's release, United States warns of repercussions

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", it said in a statement.

Late on Thursday night, Pakistan formally released Hafiz Saeed and withdrew the jail staff from his Johar Town residence in Lahore.

Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 but he was freed by court in 2009.

On Saturday, the White House said there would be repercussions for U.S. -Pakistan relations unless Islamabad took action to detain and charge a freed Islamist militant accused of masterminding a 2008 assault in Mumbai, India. The mastermind of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai was under detention since January but released on Friday after a directive from the judicial review board of Pakistan's Punjab Province.

It also called Saeed a "notorious terrorist" and pointed out that "a clear worldwide consensus" exists regarding Saeed's culpability - he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008 and the Department of the Treasury has designated him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

"The United States strongly condemns the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Donald Trump in Florida
ReutersUS President Donald Trump in Florida

Lashkar-i-Taiba and its leaders remain subject to USA sanctions and the government has offered a US$10 million reward for information that brings him to justice.

The US and the United Nations classify Saeed's JuD as a terrorist group and it is alleged to be a front organization for LeT, whose attack on Mumbai led to the death of 166 Indians and foreigners. We've given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get?

India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to re-investigate the Mumbai terror attack case and also demanded trial of Hafiz Saeed and LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the light of evidence it had provided to Islamabad. He heads Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United States says is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The US statement came hours after Saeed walked free and lost little time in making yet another incendiary speech, slamming India and renewing his vow to continue the "jehad" for Kashmir's "Independence". "I tell him he was ousted, because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with [Narendra] Modi, killers of thousands of Muslims", Mr Saeed said, according to Reuters.

With Beijing financing more than US$55 billion (RM226 billion) of Pakistani infrastructure projects as part of China's Belt and Road initiative, some analysts have suggested that Pakistan can to some extent ignore pressure from the US.

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