Sartaj Aziz on Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest: ‘If we do more, he will be acquitted’ | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Sartaj Aziz on Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest: ‘If we do more, he will be acquitted’

In an interview with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz defended the government’s decision to avoid stern action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder

world Updated: Apr 07, 2017 22:13 IST
Joyeeta Biswas
Hafiz Saeed
LeT founder Hafiz Saeed is accused by India of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks.(HT photo)

Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz has said the government did not take harsh steps against Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed for fear that he would be let off by the courts.

In an interview with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle posted this week, Aziz defended Pakistan’s decision to limit its actions against Saeed to house arrest - a move the interviewer referred to as a “slap on the wrist” - saying, “If we do more, he will get acquittal of the court. Three times he has got acquittal of the court.”

Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was placed in “preventive detention” or house arrest by Pakistan on January 30 and was listed under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act by the government of Punjab province in February.

Saeed currently heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, which has not been banned but is on the watch list. The US and the UN Security Council have already declared the JuD and its sister organisation, the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, as fronts for the LeT.

In the interview, during which the 88-year-old Aziz was grilled on the government’s failure to execute laws against terrorism, he insisted that Pakistan was committed to fighting terror groups but denied that Saeed was behind the Mumbai attacks. “His name is not directly involved. We have asked for additional evidence which they [India] have not given us,” he said.