New Delhi, Jan 19: The United States made it clear that Mumbai-attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that no action could be taken against the UN-designated terrorist, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said,”We have made our points and concerns to the Pakistani government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted.”
While talking to reporters at her daily news conference yesterday, Nauert emphasised that US regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed many people, including Americans as well.
“Saeed is listed by the United Nations Security Council 1267, the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targetted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is a designated foreign terrorist organisation,” US State Department Spokesperson added.
Reacting strongly to Abbasi’s comments, Nauert stated that Washington has conveyed its concern to Islamabad as the US believes Saeed should be prosecuted. “The Pakistani Government released him from house arrest not that long ago. We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.
In a recent interview with Geo TV, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi referred Saeed as ‘sahib’ or ‘sir. He had said that there was no case registered against Saeed in Islamabad and without it, action cannot be initiated against him.
In November 2017, the Pakistan Prime Minister had claimed that India has provided ‘no evidence’ against Saeed on the basis of which he can be prosecuted.
Acknowledging that the US has had some challenging times with the government of Pakistan recently, Nauert said the Trump Administration expects Pakistan to do a lot more to address terrorism issues.
“That’s something that we’ve been very clear about all along. You know the news that we had that came out a couple weeks ago about our decision to withhold some of the security funding for Pakistan,” she said. Nauert cited that the entire administration is on the same page on the issue of US-Pakistan relationship.
(With inputs from agencies)