USA concerned over Hafiz Saeed's release from house arrest in Pakistan

Hafiz Saeed speaks with supporters after attending Friday Prayers in Lahore Pakistan

India said Thursday it was outraged at Pakistan's release of Hafiz Saeed accused of organising the 2008 deadly Mumbai attacks that almost brought the nuclear-armed nations to the brink of war.

The US statement came hours after Saeed, free from his 10-month house detention, addressed his followers at the headquarters of his Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) charity and accused the Pakistan government of taking "dictation from foreign masters" to appease India.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack.

Pakistan put Saeed and four of his aides under house arrest in Lahore in January following increased US pressure on Islamabad to rein in militant groups.

Hafiz Saeed had been placed under house arrest in Lahore on January 31, 2017. Both the United Nations and U.S. have designated JuD as a front for LeT, and many of its leaders, including Saeed, remain subject to United Nations and other worldwide sanctions.

"Since 2012, the United States has offered a USA $10 million‎ reward for information that brings Saeed to justice", the statement continued.

Saying he was "fighting for the freedom of Pakistan and Kashmir", he said he had been put under house arrest for fighting for the rights of Kashmiris and Pakistani leaders were making decisions under external pressure. "God willing with the support of people we will take Kashmir to its destiny", he said.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Hafiz Saeed, the alleged founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, was released from detention in Lahore this week following a court order.

India claims that the JuD head was the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.

It had submitted before the review board that release of Saeed could lead to the imposition of global sanctions on Pakistan. "India has been lobbying against me", the militant leader said.

JuD chief Hafiz Saeed carries $10 million bounty for his role in terror activities, which include the 2008 Mumbai attack. Under worldwide pressure, Pakistan officially banned the Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002. Saeed also attacked ousted Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, calling him a traitor who wanted peace with India. "It is because of Kashmir that India has been after me".

Saeed's four aides were set free in the last week of October.



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