WASHINGTON: The United States has expressed concern over Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed running for office in the upcoming General Election.
US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, in a daily press briefing, called Saeed the “mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks”, and said that the US “would certainly have concerns about him running for office,” while referring to the rise of the Milli Muslim League (MML), a political party backed by Saeed which is a front for the JuD. Saeed, who was recently set free from a 300-day-long house arrest, has been repeatedly accused by the US and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people. In 2012, the US announced a bounty of $10 million for Saeed over his alleged role in the attack in which six American
He, however, has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. While emphasising on the US’s concerns regarding Saeed, Nauert added: “I want to remind folks we have a $10 million Reward for Justice program… for information that would bring him (Saeed) to justice. So I want to make that clear so that everybody knows, $10 million out for this guy.”
While answering a question regarding Pakistan’s decision to set Saeed free, Nauert said, “I would imagine that if we had any intelligence (that would help Pakistan take action against Saeed) and that’s not an area that I can discuss, anyway – but we would certainly share it with the Pakistanis on that front. I hope they’ll do the right thing.” On January 1, 2017, the Punjab government had issued orders to place Saeed under house arrest; the JuD chief had been detained under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1977. The JuD leader had walked free after about 300-day house arrest after hislatest 30-day detention expired on November 23.