White House condemns Pakistan's release of militant suspect

The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction.

"He was not only the mastermind, he was the prime organizer of the Mumbai terror attacks in which many innocent Indians and many people from other nationalities were killed", spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.

Swati Ajay Gavande, the widow of a slain police officer, said Hafiz Saeed should never have been released from house arrest. He also warned ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) against bowing before the global community for loans and said, "The rulers must not take dictation from the USA and other countries and take its own decisions".

Saeed says again that the United States, on India's request, pressured Pakistan to keep in custody him.

Huckabee Sanders said Saeed's release "sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to combating worldwide terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil", adding that, "If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation".

"(Hafiz) Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) worldwide terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil", the White House said in a statement.

After the attack on the Indian commercial capital, Pakistan was put under intense pressure to detain and prosecute Mr Saeed.

"I'm happy that no allegation against me was proved", Saeed told supporters after his release in the city of Lahore, according to a video released by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Islamist charity, which he heads.

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A clear global consensus exists regarding Saeed's culpability as he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008, she said.

While some in Pakistan may wish to see Mr Saeed placed on trial, there is widespread suspicion among Indian and United States officials that he still retains close links to the country's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which has been long blamed for sponsoring numerous cross-border attacks on Indian targets.

President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of harboring "agents of chaos", and warned Pakistan to change its behavior or face tough U.S. measures.

Pakistani officials, for their part, have been irate at the USA drone strikes that kill Pakistani civilians, and are not prepared to support the U.S. involvement in the region - especially since it is temporary by definition. Elements of the armed forces have historically fostered ties with insurgents targeting neighbouring Afghanistan and India.

Last month, however, the Trump administration appeared to revise its hard line against Islamabad. The assault brought nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

The US statement came hours after Saeed walked free and lost little time in making yet another incendiary speech, slamming India and renewing his vow to continue the "jehad" for Kashmir's "Independence".

Saeed has long campaigned in support of Muslim separatists in the Indian-ruled portion of the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which Pakistan also claims.

  • Megan Austin