Hafiz Saeed also targeted the Pak govt for ‘taking dictation from foreign masters’.
Islamabad/New Delhi/ Washington: Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba founder Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the 26/11 atta-cks on Mumbai nine years ago, who was freed from house arrest late on Thursday night, on Friday attacked Pakistan’s ousted PM Nawaz Sharif as a “traitor” for advocating peace with India. He said Mr Sharif had committed “treason” by seeking friendship with India and ignoring the “Kashmir cause” while delivering a sermon at the JuD headquarters in Lahore. A large number of JuD and LeT activists had gathered at the Jamia Masjid Al-Qadsia at Chaub-urji to hear his speech.
Saeed also targeted the Pakistani government for “taking dictation from foreign masters”, in a clear reference to the US, which had put a $10 million bounty on his head.
“Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted? 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 US and other countries and take its own decisions”.
After his release, meanwhile, the United States on Friday asked the Pakistan government to make sure that Hafiz Saeed was arrested again and charged for his crimes. “The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan. 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,” US state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, adding: “The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.”
In New Delhi, reacting sharply to Hafiz Saeed’s remark after being released that he would continue fighting for Kashmiris till they get “freedom”, the Union home ministry said this was a mere “rearticulation of the agenda of terrorists who have thrived across the border”. While maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir will always remain an integral part of India, a senior MHA official said India’s security forces had given an “appropriate response” to such comments by subversive elements. “Not just the security forces, but even the people of Kashmir have given a suitable response to provocative comments by terror elements operating out of Pakistan,” the official added.
Late on Thursday night, Pakistan formally released Hafiz Saeed and withdrew the jail staff from his Johar Town residence in Lahore. Saeed spent 297 days in detention.
Hundreds of his supporters had gathered outside his house and showered rose petals on Saeed as he came out on Friday morning. They also distributed sweets amid full-throated slogans welcoming their leader’s release.