Indian slams Pakistan for failing to act against Hafiz Saeed
New Delhi on Monday slammed Islamabad for failing to act against Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, after the Pakistani envoy said the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder was a freeman as there was no case against him.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said, “Our views on Hafiz Saeed are pretty clear. To us he is the evil mastermind of the attacks on Mumbai. To us he is one of the accused in an Indian court of killing on the streets of Mumbai.”
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to apprehend Saeed so that he could be “taken through the normal judicial process,” Akbaruddin said at a news briefing. He was responding to comments earlier in the day by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit who had said Saeed was a Pakistani national and was “free to roam around”.
Basit added, “So what is the problem… he is a free citizen so there is no issue as far as Pakistan is concerned.” Basit also contended that Pakistani courts had “already exonerated” Saeed. “There is no case pending against him,” he added.
Akbaruddin said it was regrettable that Saeed had never been arrested for the Mumbai attacks, which have been blamed by India on the LeT. A total of 166 people were killed during the assault on India’s financial hub by 10 terrorists in November 2008.
“Therefore, what you say is obvious that he is only free because he is a Pakistani citizen,” he said. “It devolves on Pakistan that criminals like Hafiz Saeed are brought to book.” Asked about Pakistan’s stance that there is no evidence to prove Saeed’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks, Akbaruddin said, “Ninety-nine per cent of evidence in this case is in Pakistan. That is because the entire conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. The planning for this dastardly act was done in Pakistan. The financing for this act was undertaken in Pakistan and people who were involved in this were from Pakistan.”
Pakistan has arrested seven men for the Mumbai attacks but New Delhi has protested against the slow pace of efforts to prosecute them.