Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says action against Hafiz Saeed not taken since there's no case against him in Pakistan

Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said Islamabad hasn't acted against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed because there isn't any case registered against him. "Action is taken when there is a case registered (against someone)," he said, in an interview to Pakistan's Geo News.

Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, was released from house arrest in November last year, after the Lahore High Court rejected the Punjab government's plea seeking a three-month extension on his detention. He had been under house arrest since January last year.

 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says action against Hafiz Saeed not taken since theres no case against him in Pakistan

File image of Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi. AP

Immediately upon his release, Saeed had even announced plans of contesting elections in Pakistan. According to Daily Pakistan, Saeed had said that he would seek a seat in the national assembly through Milli Muslim League (MML) but did not reveal details on the constituency he would contest from.

His close aide Saifullah Khalid then said the party would strive to make Pakistan "a real Islamic State".

Even the United States had voiced concern over these developments, saying Saeed's release was a "backward step" in the war against terrorism.

Two months later, the Donald Trump administration went a step further by revoking its $1.1 billion in security aid to Pakistan, although Washington later said the move wasn't related to Saeed's release.

"We have certainly expressed our concern about the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks being let out of house arrest in Pakistan. To my knowledge, that has nothing to do with that," state department spokesperson Heather Nauert had said.

"There is a $10 million reward out for information leading to his re-arrest, the person who is the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks who was let go in Pakistan. So we've been very clear about our displeasure with that individual being let go, and that's why we like to remind people that there is a $10 million Rewards for Justice program out for him," Nauert had said.

But Abbasi said the deterioration in ties with the US notwithstanding, talks between the two countries are still ongoing "at every level". "A US delegation visited Pakistan, while a delegation from here also visited the US. We are a sovereign State and do not want any act to occur that could deteriorate the regional situation," Abbasi said, adding, "We are bound to safeguard our borders."

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 13:45:25 IST