Pakistan releases militant wanted by US

Pakistan releases militant wanted by US

"The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Saturday. The statement went on to say that the LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation which was responsible for the death of innocent civilians including American citizens.

Describing the release of Hafiz Saeed as a step in the wrong direction, the USA said Pakistan now has an opportunity to "demonstrate its seriousness" in the fight against terrorism by "arresting and charging" the 26/11 mastermind for his crimes.

Earlier in the day, the LeT Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was released from house arrest, two days after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected the Punjab government's request to extend his detention.

Saeed was placed under house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, in January, in keeping with Pakistan's antiterrorism laws.

Reminding Islamabad that the U.S. had specially designated Saeed as a "global terrorist" way back in May 2008, Nauert also pointed out that the LeT chief was separately designated by the United Nations in December the same year following the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Saeed's release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN. "They play everyone, whether it's China or the terrorists or us".

Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty announced by the United States for his role in terror activities, made the comment to supporters gathered outside his Lahore residence. India pressurized Pakistan through the United States.

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Pakistan has been detaining and freeing Saeed off and on since the attacks that left 166 dead, including several Americans. He heads Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the USA says is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for neglecting Kashmiris".

Hundreds of his supporters had gathered outside his house and showered rose petals on Saeed as he came out on Friday morning.

Pakistan denies that. While Saeed was under house arrest, his JuD charity launched a political party, the Milli Muslim League (MML), which has won thousands of votes in by-elections.

Like much of Pakistan's establishment, Saeed was virulently anti-India, and campaigned against New Delhi's occupation of the disputed territory of Kashmir for years.

For years, the Pakistanis have been blamed by the us for not doing enough in their counterterrorism efforts to end the Afghan war - the longest military engagement in America's history.