Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed today "postponed" a scheduled press conference he had called to respond to the demand by the US for his re-arrest after he was released from detention by Pakistan earlier this week.
Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed today “postponed” a scheduled press conference he had called to respond to the demand by the US for his re-arrest after he was released from detention by Pakistan earlier this week. A spokesman of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), an LeT front Saeed heads, said he had “postponed his scheduled presser following riots in the country in the wake of police action against the activists of Tahreek-i-Labaik Pakistan in Islamabad.” Saeed, who has an American bounty of USD 10 million on his head, walked free on Thursday midnight after his 10-month detention ended. The Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case, pushing back against India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice. In May 2008, the US treasury department designated Saeed a global terrorist. Saeed was “individually” designated by the UN under the Security Council Resolution 1267 in December, 2008, following the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people, including Americans, were killed. Yesterday, the US had asked the Pakistan government to re-arrest and charge Saeed for his crimes. “The US is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan… The Pakistani government should make sure he is arrested and charged for his crimes,” state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
It was rare for the US government to issue a statement during the Thanksgiving holidays but the State Department felt that the issue was urgent enough to ignore this tradition. The JuD spokesman, Ahmad Nadim, said Saeed had called the press conference at the outfit’s headquarters in Lahore to speak on the “Indian propaganda” against him and the US demand to re-arrest him. “However, the current situation forced him to defer it,” he added. Nearly 2,000 activists of several organisations, including Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, have been protesting near the national capital Islamabad since November 8. They demand the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid for changes made to the ‘Khatm-i-Nabuwwat’, or the finality of prophethood oath in the Elections Act 2017 passed in September.
Saeed has asked Pakistan to desist from holding peace talks with India. He has reiterated that the US pressured Pakistan to detain him on India’s request. “…I was detained on the pressure of the US on the Pakistani government. The US did so on the request of India,” he claimed.