USA calls for arrest of released LeT leader Hafiz Saeed

USA calls for arrest of released LeT leader Hafiz Saeed

"The White House said in a statement, "(Hafiz) Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) global terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil".

"LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens", the statement said, noting: "LeT and several of its front organisations, leaders, and operatives remain under both State Department and Treasury Department sanctions".

Saeed has been detained periodically by the Pakistani government since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

"LeT is a designated foreign terrorist organisation responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens", USA state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, adding: "The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes".

The Judicial Review Board of Punjab province - comprising judges of the Lahore High Court - unanimously ordered Saeed's release yesterday, on the completion of his 30-day house arrest, which expired last night. "It is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to fulfil its global obligations and take action against terrorists like Hafiz Saeed", External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.

The United States Department of the Treasury, in May 2008, had designated Saeed as a "Specially Designated Terrorist" under the Executive Order 13224. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

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India's External Affairs Ministry condemned the release, and said in a statement that a "self-confessed and United Nations proscribed terrorist was being allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda". "They play everyone, whether it's China or the terrorists or us".

"I'm happy that no allegation against me was proved", Saeed told supporters after his release in the city of Lahore, according to a video released by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Islamist charity, which he heads.

"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris". The assault brought nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

Saeed, in his late 60s, was under house arrest for 297 days since January.

Saeed, right after his release had said that he will continue to work for the cause of Kashmir.

For years, the Pakistanis have been blamed by the us for not doing enough in their counterterrorism efforts to end the Afghan war - the longest military engagement in America's history.

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