NEW DELHI —- In strong criticism of Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism, the government said Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s release appeared to be an attempt to “mainstream” proscribed terrorists and shield non-state actors responsible for heinous acts.
“India, as indeed the entire international community, is outraged that a selfconfessed and UN-proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue his evil agenda,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.
A day after a judicial board in Pakistan decided to rescind orders to keep Saeed under house arrest, the government said, “It also appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting nonstate actors and its true face is visible for all to see.”
The official was replying to a query on the release of Saeed, leader of the banned terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. He said it was the responsibility of the Pakistani government to fulfil its international obligations and take credible and effective action against terrorists like Saeed.
Hafiz’s release further setback to Indo-Pak ties
The ease with which the judicial board in Pakistan rejected the Punjab government’s plea to keep JuD chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest has raised suspicions that the LeT terror chief’s proximity to the Pakistani military worked in his favour. Seen as an “asset” by Pakistani agencies, Saeed immediately described his release as a setback to India.
“As you are aware, he was the prime organiser of the Mumbai terror attacks in which many Indians and nationals of several other countries were killed. He is also responsible for unleashing numerous other terror attacks against Pakistan’s neighbours,” Kumar said.
The LeT chief has repeatedly spoken of his resolve to wage jihad against India and has addressed public meetings despite being designated a global terrorist by the UN and the US.
The Lashkar chief’s release is a further setback to India-Pakistan ties which are already in limbo. Talks have been frozen over India’s insistence that they address terrorism and developments in Pakistan such as the exit of Nawaz Sharif as PM after what was seen to be a judicial-military coup against him.