Pakistan justifies Saeed’s release

Islamabad: Pakistan has justified the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, accused of by India and the US of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai massacre, by claiming that Islamabad remains committed to the implementation of UNSC sanctions regime on terrorists and has taken several steps in this regard.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, who carries a $10 million US bounty for his role in terrorist activities, was let go after Thursday midnight by Pakistani authorities in Lahore after a court refused to extend his house arrest citing lack of evidence. He had been under house arrest since January 30.

The Indian government had slammed Saeed’s release saying it showed Pakistan’s lack of seriousness in bringing to justice perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism.

Responding to the India’s reaction, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal in a statement issued late Friday said that “Pakistan remains committed to the implementation of UNSC 1267 sanctions regime and has taken several steps in this regard”.

He took exception to self-serving insinuations. “The courts in Pakistan, pursuant to their constitutional duty, are determined to uphold rule of law and due process for all citizens of Pakistan. Legal processes are anchored in rule of law, not dictates of politics and posturing,” Faisal said.

He said that Pakistan’s resolve, actions and successes in the fight against terrorism, terrorist violence and terrorists is “unmatched in the world”.

“Pakistan condemns and opposes all forms of terrorism by any individual or group. Pakistan also opposes and condemns acts of terrorism inside Pakistan and elsewhere by India, which claims to be a champion of democracy and international law,” Faisal said.

Indian External Affairs Ministry had said that Saeed’s “release confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistani government in bringing to justice perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism including by individuals and entities designated by the UN”.

“It is evident that Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see. It is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to fulfil its international obligations and take action against terrorists like Hafiz Saeed,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.

The US and the UN classify Saeed’s JuD as a terrorist group and it is alleged to be a front organization for LeT, whose attack on Mumbai led to the death of 166 Indians and foreigners.

Saeed was individually designated by the UN under the Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.