Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas said on Tuesday that no action will be taken against Hafiz Saeed as there is no case against him in Pakistan. Abbas said this in an interview with Pakistan’s Geo TV.
“Action is taken when there is a case registered [against someone],” said the prime minister when asked about the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief.
Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was released by Pakistan authorities after a 10-month house arrest in November. Pakistan received a lot of backlash from the international community for letting Saeed go, with the United States of America saying the move could damage bilateral ties.
The White House released a statement at the time saying Saeed’s release sends a “deeply troubling” message about Pakistan’s commitment to fighting international terrorism. Saeed has a $10 million American bounty on his head, and has been termed a terrorist by both the US and the United Nations.
US suspends aid
In January, the Donald Trump administration suspended over $1.1 billion security aid to Pakistan, and at the time it was believed the move was an expression of the US’ displeasure at Saeed’s release. But US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said it had nothing to do with Islamabad not taking action against Saeed.
“We have certainly expressed our concern about the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks being let out of house arrest in Pakistan. To my knowledge, that has nothing to do with that,” said Nauert.
“There is a $10 million reward out for information leading to his re-arrest, the person who is the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks who was let go in Pakistan. So we’ve been very clear about our displeasure with that individual being let go, and that’s why we like to remind people that there is a $10 million Rewards for Justice program out for him,” Nauert said.
Shortly after his release, Saeed announced his decision to contest the 2018 general elections under the banner of the Milli Muslim League (MML).