Days after India and Pakistan resolved to work together to counter terrorism, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed has dared New Delhi to prove his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The comments by Saeed, for whom the US has offered a $10 million bounty, come close on the heels of Pakistan’s assurance to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj that it will expedite the trial of seven Pakistani nationals accused of involvement in the terrorist strike on India’s financial hub.
In a video posted on Twitter, Saeed said: “These people (the Pakistan government) did not say anything but let me reply to Sushma. Listen to me, it’s been seven years since the Mumbai attacks but you could not prove anything (about who was behind the attacks). InshaAllah (if Allah wills it) you will not be able to prove it until qayamat (judgement day)…India has failed to provide any evidence of the Mumbai attacks, while on the other hand, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has confessed to the worst terrorism of 1971,” he added.
Following talks between Swaraj and Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, the two sides agreed last week to launch a new dialogue process. The talks were linked to Pakistan taking steps to expedite the trial of seven men charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attacks.
Saeed also criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for holding a meeting with Modi in Paris, saying it had hurt the sentiments of “Kashmiri Muslims”. The Indian government played down Saeed’s statements and said it is capable of countering any threat or challenge to its territory or sovereignty.
“India is capable of facing any threat. So I don’t think these are issues to be discussed publicly. I think there is no reason to be disturbed about what somebody says, because India is capable (of facing) any kind of threat or challenge,” said minister of state for the PM’s Office Jitendra Singh.
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Saeed is a criminal who needs to be punished.
(With inputs from ANI)