There has been a mixed reaction in Pakistan to the bounty announced by the US government on Hafiz Saeed, the head of the JuD and the LeT.
Lawyer and jurist Ahmer Bilal Soofi said on Wednesday that such a move lacks any legal backing and seems more to be a political gimmick and less of a serious effort. “It reminds one of the way things worked in the Wild West where head money was announced against outlaws,” he added.
There is a feeling in Pakistan that this has been done by the US more to put pressure on the Pakistan government to take action against Saeed, who the world says was behind the Mumbai attacks.
“In some ways, it is for the Pakistan government to sit up and take notice,” said analyst Shamimur Rehman.
Observers say that many agree in Pakistan that Saeed was let off by the courts only because the government failed to do its homework. They say it was a deliberate effort on the insistence of the ISI and other spy agencies with whom Saeed works closely.
At the same time, the move may actually help Saeed in the short term. Bringing him at par with Mullah Omar and Al-Qaeda chiefs in Iraq and Iran has raised his standing at home, says an editorial in The Express Tribune. It said that Saeed is emerging as a national symbol of defiance against the US.
Analysts say that the reward for Saeed will also affect relations with the US. “The fact that this was announced in India and also the manner in which it was done has not gone down well with us,” commented Munawar Hasan, a leader of the right wing Jamaat-e-Islami party.
Responding to a question regarding the bounty on Saeed, the Pakistan foreign office spokesman said that Pakistan would prefer to receive concrete evidence rather than to be engaging in a public discussion.