Washington: A day after Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that no action could be taken against Hafiz Saeed as there is no case against him, the United States Administration has called for the prosecution of the UN-designated terrorist "to the fullest extent of the law".
Reacting strongly to Pakistan PM's remarks, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, ''The US believes that Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted and Pakistan has been told about it.''
"We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He is listed by the UNSC 1267, the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation," Nauert said in her daily news conference on Thursday.
"We have made our points and concerns to the Pakistani government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted," Nauert said.
We have made our points and our concerns to the Pakistani Government very clear. We believe that this individual should be prosecuted: Heather Nauert, US State Dept spokesperson on Hafiz Saeed pic.twitter.com/7pLbiOwR4B
— ANI (@ANI) January 19, 2018
Speaking to Pakistan's leading Geo TV on Tuesday, Abbasi also referred to Hafiz Saeed as 'sahib' or 'sir'.
"There is no case against Hafiz Saeed 'sahib' in Pakistan. Only when there is a case can there be action," Abbasi said when asked why there was no action against him.
Responding to a question on the JuD chief, Nauert further said the US has "certainly seen" the reports about Abbasi's comment on Hafiz Saeed.
"We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed many people, including Americans as well," she added.
Saeed, who heads terrorist outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November.
The US has labelled JuD the "terrorist front" for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a group Saeed founded in 1987. LeT was responsible for carrying the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
Acknowledging that the US has had some challenging times with the government of Pakistan recently, Nauert said the Trump Administration expects Pakistan to do a lot more to address terrorism issues.
"That's something that we've been very clear about all along. You know the news that we had that came out a couple weeks ago about our decision to withhold some of the security funding for Pakistan," she said.
Nauert said the entire administration is on the same page on the issue of US-Pakistan relationship.
Early this month, the US suspended about USD 2 billion worth of security assistance to Pakistan accusing it of not doing enough in the fight against terrorism.
In retaliation, Pakistan suspended military and intelligence co-operation with the US.
The State Department yesterday said it has not received any formal information in this regard from Pakistan.
Meanwhile, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai yesterday called out on Pakistan Prime Minister's bluff that there is no case against 2008 Mumbai mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
“Oh! There is plenty of evidence. Everyone knows that,” said Karzai.
The former Afghan president said this while attending the 2018 Raisina Dialogue in the national capital.
Saeed has been grabbing headlines often since his release from house arrest in November. He was placed under the same in January 2017.
A Pakistani Urdu newspaper ‘Khabrain’ recently sparked a row with its new year calendar.
The calendar has become a talking point as it carries a photograph of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
(With PTI inputs)