India has given ‘no evidence’ against Hafiz Saeed: Pakistan PM Abbasi
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said India has provided “no evidence” against Hafiz Saeed, days after the US warned there would be repercussions for bilateral relations if the Pakistan government does not re-arrest and prosecute the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief.
Noting that Saeed had recently been freed from house arrest by a judicial panel because there were “no charges” against him, Abbasi told Bloomberg in an interview that Saaed should be prosecuted internationally if the charges against him could be substantiated.
“The court, a three-judge bench, has released him (Saeed) saying there are no charges against him, the country has a law you know,” said Abbasi, who became premier after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was ousted from office by the Supreme Court over graft charges.
“Prosecute him internationally if there is substance to these charges -- these are accusations only. No evidence has been provided by India,” he said, without giving details.
Saeed, who has been accused by India and the US of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, was freed after 10 months of house arrest by a panel of judges from the Lahore high court who concluded Pakistan authorities had not provided any evidence against him.
India has repeated said it has provided adequate evidence to Pakistan against Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the attacks in Mumbai.
Saeed is considered to be close to the Pakistani military and intelligence set-up, which has for long been accused of using the LeT as a proxy to target India.
Asked if Pakistan would act against Taliban leaders who have allegedly lived for years in the southwestern city of Quetta, Abbasi said, “We will act against them if they really exist.”
Abbasi also suggested that US President Donald Trump’s troop increase and support to Afghanistan will end in failure. He urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to agree to peace talks.
“We have assured them of whatever assistance we would be able to offer, but things are quite fragmented on that side,” he said. “Pakistan has tried twice but the talks have been sabotaged.”
Abbasi’s remarks came against the backdrop of growing American pressure to act against terror groups operating from its soil, including the LeT and Haqaani Network. Gen Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command, and secretary of state Rex Tillerson called on Pakistan to take action against militants during recent visits to the country.
“There is no room for them to take a tough stance here, because Pakistan is the country which is fighting the war on terror,” Abbasi said. “Somebody gives us intelligence and we will act upon it. It is our war, not theirs.”
Three bombs tore through minibuses in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Wednesday, killing at least nine people, police said. "The bombs were placed on three minibuses in different districts of the city," Balkh provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP, adding that 15 other people were wounded. Another bomb exploded inside a mosque in the capital Kabul late on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding 10 others, the interior ministry said.
At least 16 people were killed after a blast tore through a mosque in Afghanistan's capital Kabul and three blasts ripped through three minibuses northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Wednesday. A spokesman for Kabul's commander said at least two people were injured in the blast on a mosque in Kabul. Emergency hospital said in a tweet it had received five bodies from the blast and more than a dozen wounded patients, reported Reuters.
Clashes erupted across several cities of Pakistan amid the Azadi March call by the ousted prime minister Imran Khan Niazi. After Karachi, Lahore and parts of Khyber Pakhunkhwa, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporters and workers resorted to violence in the federal capital Islamabad, where the party chief is set to hold the rally.
On a day Lahore witnessed clashes between supporters of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and police, former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez took to Twitter and slammed the Pakistani establishment over the shortage of fuel and cash, tagging prominent politicians in the country. Political and economic volatility has deepened in the nuclear-armed nation ahead of a likely announcement by the International Monetary Fund later in the day on whether it will resume a $6 billion rescue package.
China's People's Liberation Army on Wednesday said it has conducted a military exercise around Taiwan as a warning against its “collusive activities” with the United States, two days after President Joe Biden said Washington would get involved militarily if China were to try to take the self-ruled island by force. “This is a stern warning to the recent collusive activities by the US and Taiwan secessionists,” Senior a spokesperson of the Eastern Theatre Command, Colonel Shi Yi was quoted in Chinese state media as saying.