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'Hafiz Saeed's free movement encourages terror'

world Updated: Apr 13, 2012 00:44 IST

The free movement of Jamat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, is encouraging terrorism and souring of Pakistan's relations with India, leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney said on Thursday.

He told mediapersons on his arrival in Attari that Saeed was roaming freely all over Pakistan and holding public meetings and in such circumstances Pakistan should "reveal the truth" to India in the larger interest of good relations between the two neighboring nations.

Burney suggested both the countries resolve all crucial bilateral issues mutually in a cordial atmosphere.

India's foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai has said that India is willing to advance its peace talks with Pakistan and discuss the Kashmir issue, but the main stumbling block is Islamabad's failure to clamp down on militant groups.

Mathai, in an interview to 'The Wall Street Journal published today, also asserted that Pakistan needs to take serious action against militants using its soil to attack India, he said that it was deeply troubling to India that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was able to address public gatherings and appear on television in Pakistan.

"If the (Pakistani) army didn't want Hafiz on TV issuing threats to one and all, they'd be able to do something," Mathai said.

He said Pakistan's failure to clamp down on militant groups that have attacked India is the major roadblock to peace talks.

Mathai said the US decision to put a USD 10 million bounty on Saeed shows that Washington has come around to India's view about the high level of threat from Pakistan-based militant groups.

"It does demonstrate that much of what concerns us is a broader international concern," he said.

At the same time, Mathai referred to Pakistan's recent moves indicating its willingness to improve bilateral ties, including those on trade.

"I wouldn't have been as optimistic six months ago," he said, speaking about prospects for the latest round of peace talks, which began a year ago.