US places $10m bounty on Saeed’s head
KABUL (PAN): The United States has placed a $10 million bounty on the head of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the outlawed militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which largely operates in Pakistan and the Indian-administered zone of Kashmir.
The announcement was made late on Monday by Wendy Sherman, US undersecretary of state for political affairs, during her maiden a visit to India. She said Saeed’s brother-in-law and co-founder of LeT, Abdul Rehman Makki, also carried a reward of $2 million on his head.
In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman said: “The US government is concerned about the recent public appearances of Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed, including at a recent rally in Karachi.”
Victoria Nuland added Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa were sanctioned because of their links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. She asked Pakistan to uphold its obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989, which urged all countries to freeze the assets of sanctioned groups and prevent arms supplies to them.
Saeed is blamed for masterminding a series of deadly assaults, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans. A month after the attacks, the Pakistan government put him under house arrest.
However, he was freed in 2009. A year later, the Supreme Court upheld his release, saying that there was no concrete evidence that warranted the LeT leader’s detention.
In the 1980s, the 61-year-old founded the LeT, allegedly with support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to mount pressure on India in Kashmir. The US has designated the group as a foreign terrorist organisation.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna hailed the US announcement. "India welcomes this new initiative of the US government. In recent years, India and the US have moved closer than ever before in our common endeavor of fighting terrorists."
The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed is equal to the bounty placed on Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s head. The bounties were posted on the US State Department Rewards for Justice website late on Monday.
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