The US State Department has expressed concern over Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attack Hafiz Saeed running for office in Pakistan’s general elections next year.
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a press briefing on Tuesday said that the US “would certainly have concerns about him running for office” while referring to the rise of the Milli Muslim League (MML), a political party backed by Saeed which is a front for the JuD.
Nauert blamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder for the Mumbai attack that led to the death of 166 Indians and foreigners.
Saeed, who was set free in November from a 300-day-long house arrest due to lack of evidence, also carries a $10 million US bounty for his role in terrorist activities.
While emphasising on Washington’s concerns regarding Saeed, Nauert said: “I want to remind folks we have a $10 million reward for Justice programme… for information that would bring him (Saeed) to justice. So I want to make that clear so that everybody knows, $10 million out for this guy.”
While answering a question regarding Pakistan’s decision to set Saeed free, Nauert said, “I would imagine that if we had any intelligence (that would help Pakistan take action against Saeed) and that’s not an area that I can discuss, anyway — but we would certainly share it with the Pakistanis on that front. I hope they’ll do the right thing.”
The US and the UN classify Saeed’s JuD as a terrorist group and it is alleged to be a front organization for LeT.
Saeed was individually designated by the UN under the Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.