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Need more evidence from India to prosecute Hafiz Saeed, says Pak envoy to US

Saeed’s recent release from house-arrest had earned Pakistan a sharp rebuke from the United States.

world Updated: Dec 05, 2017 21:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Hafiz Saeed,Pakistan,United States
Hafiz Saeed waves to his supporters at a mosque in Lahore on November 24, 2017. (AP)

Pakistan needs evidence that can stand legal scrutiny in its courts to prosecute Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed for involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, that country’s ambassador to the US said on Tuesday.

The “courts keep releasing” Saeed every time he is arrested for lack of that kind of evidence from India, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said at a talk at Carnegie. The Pakistani government was using other kinds of domestic laws such as the “maintenance of public order” to imprison him, but “court are free in Pakistan and they rule regardless” of what the government does or doesn’t do, the envoy said.

Saeed’s recent release from house-arrest earned Pakistan a sharp rebuke from the United States, with the White House demanding his immediate re-arrest and prosecution, with the threat of “repercussions” for bilateral relations.

Saeed remains free and has since announced plans to float a political party to contest in elections.

Chaudhry said his country was committed to follow the law and international obligations under which Saeed — a UN Security Council designated terrorist — is prevented from carrying arms, raise funds and travel internationally.

But Chaudhry put the onus on India for Saeed’s prosecution for the Mumbai attacks. He said India took five years to allow a judicial commission from Pakistan to visit and interview four witnesses, of which only two were spoken to in that visit. It took another year for the remaining witnesses to be interviewed, he said.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 21:50 IST