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Pakistan justifies Saeed's release

Pakistan justifies Saeed's release

Voicing "deep concern" over the release of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed from house arrest, the United States on Friday asked Pakistan to arrest and charge the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba chief who for years has been carrying a U.S. bounty of $10 million on his head.

Mr Saeed, 68, has always denied being being the multi-target attack on Mumbai that left close to 170 people dead.

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement in Washington on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the LeT Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was released from house arrest, two days after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected the Punjab government's request to extend his detention.

"Hafiz Saeed was under house arrest on baseless allegations and jail officials came to his home last night and told him that he is now free", Yahya Mujahid said.

"If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation", it added.

Hafiz Saeed also targeted the Pak govt for "taking dictation from foreign masters".

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Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the USA and the United Nations over his alleged role in the November 2008 attacks.

Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head and LeT founder has a Dollars 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities.

In an interview with the BBC, Saeed said the court's decision was proof of his innocence with regard to the Mumbai attacks.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity run by Saeed, said his release was evidence of his innocence. Police guards have been removed from his residence where a large number of supporters gathered to celebrate the end of his house arrest.

India-Pakistan relations are already at a low ebb, particularly under the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, but Saeed's release will reinforce the view from New Delhi that peace talks would be pointless while the military is allegedly overpowering civilian institutions, Pant said.

"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris. I tell him he was ousted because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi", he said, warning the PML (N) government not to "take dictation from the United States and other countries and take its own decisions". India pressurized Pakistan through the United States.

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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