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Pakistan frees Hafiz Saeed, alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks
27 November 2017, 01:05 | Katrina Lee
Trump admin cracks down on release of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, warns Pakistan of repercussions
Saeed is said to be the head of the us -designated terror outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and had been under house arrest since January 31 this year.
Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 but he was freed by court in 2009.
"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 review board of Lahore High court had recently refused to accept Pakistan government's plea to extend Hafiz Saeed's house arrest saying his release will enhance tension with India.
In a strongly worded statement, the White House said Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a "deeply troubling message" about Pakistan's commitment to combating worldwide terrorism and "belies Pakistani claims" that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil.
"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", it said in a statement.
India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Saeed's release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN.
Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the USA and the United Nations over his alleged role in the November 2008 attacks.
Saeed also targeted the Pakistani government for "taking dictation from foreign masters", in a clear reference to the USA, which had put a $10 million bounty on his head.
Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement but had previously been detained twice briefly following the attacks. "They play everyone, whether it's China or the terrorists or us". He said he would ask India's government to raise the matter with the United Nations.
"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris". He heads Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United States says is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Hundreds of his supporters had gathered outside his house and showered rose petals on Saeed as he came out on Friday morning. This most recent term of house arrest began in January.
Maninderjeet Singh Bitta, chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, said the release by Pakistan was adding salt to India's wounds.
The campaign appeared to produce some success this year when Pakistani security forces assisted with the release of a Taliban-held US-Canadian family after five years in captivity.
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