New Delhi, Jan 17: The government on Wednesday hit back at Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for defending Hafiz Saeed and reiterated that the 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind is a terrorist. Speaking to news agency ANI, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir asked Pakistan to take action against Hafiz Saeed otherwise India will.
“We won’t decide our nation’s strategy on basis of what Pakistan says. We consider Hafiz Saeed a terrorist. It will be good if Pakistan government takes action but even if they don’t, we will,” MoS Ahir said. The government’s response came after Pakistan’s PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said there is no case against Hafiz Saeed, using the honorific “sahib” to describe the terror chief.
On being asked about the release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in an interview to Geo TV, said, “There is no case against Hafiz Saeed sahib in Pakistan”. Saeed, who carries a $10 million US bounty for his role in terrorist activities, was put under house arrest on January 31. The step was seen to have been largely under US pressure.
However, Hafiz Saeed was freed in November last year after 10 months of house arrest following an order from the Lahore High Court. The United States earlier had expressed deep concern over Saeed’s release, calling for him to be arrested and charged for his crimes. The White House had also warned Pakistan that it will have an impact on their bilateral relationship.
India too lashed out at Pakistan for allowing a judicial body to release Hafiz Saeed. “His release confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistan government, also appears to be an attempt by Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.