The US has said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, should be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law” as Washington regards him as a terrorist.
Washington has sent a message to Islamabad to act against Saeed, said US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier decided not to prosecute Saeed, referring to him as “Sahib” in an interview to Geo News earlier this week. He said there was no case against him in Pakistan.
Nauert, reacting to Abbasi’s remarks, said: “We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attack which killed many people, including Americans as well.
“We have made our points and our concerns to the Pakistani government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted.
“The Pakistani government released him from house arrest not that long ago. We believe he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He is listed by the UN Security Council 1267, the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e Taiba,” she said.
The White House has already clarified that there would be repercussions for US-Pakistan relations unless Islamabad takes action to detain and charge Saeed.
Pakistani authorities released Saeed from house arrest in November due to lack of evidence, much to the US administration’s frustration.
In May 2008, the US Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.
He was also individually designated by the UN under UNSC R1267 in December 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 Indians and foreigners were killed.
Amid increasing pressure from the US, however, Pakistan recently started a decisive move against proscribed organisations, including Saeed’s JuD and its subsidiary Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).
Fundraising and other activities by proscribed organisations and their subsidiaries had been banned in Islamabad.