Hafiz Saeed case `internal issue` of Pak: Gilani

Last Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 23:19

Islamabad: The case of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is an "internal issue" and any evidence
against him should be provided to Pakistan so that the courts
can take action, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Thursday.

Gilani made the remarks while responding to points raised
by lawmakers during a joint session of the National Assembly
and Senate about the USD 10 million bounty offered by the US
for Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The premier said this was an internal issue of Pakistan
and "if there is any concrete proof against Saeed then it
should be provided to Pakistan, which has an independent
judiciary".

He pointed out that cases against Saeed were dismissed in
the past due to lack of evidence.

Gilani said while speaking in parliament this evening that
he had taken up the issue of the bounty with visiting US
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides during a meeting
yesterday.

He said he had informed Nides that at a time when
Pakistan`s parliament is framing new rules of engagement for
the US, such "negative messages would increase the trust
deficit".

The premier further said he had telephoned main opposition
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and taken him into confidence on the
government`s position on the issue of the bounty.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the joint session
of parliament that she too had discussed the issue of the
bounty with Nides yesterday.

She said she had told the American delegation that Saeed
was a Pakistani citizen and the US should have informed
Pakistan before taking such a decision.

In a related development, Interior Minister Rehman Malik
told reporters on the sidelines of an official function at
Dera Allah Yar in Balochistan province that India had not yet
provided any "credible evidence" against Saeed.

He said the way the US had announced a bounty for Saeed
was against international norms and laws.

Malik said, "We have courts and institutions and the US
should follow the protocols and laws of Pakistan".

Earlier in the day, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit
said Pakistan "would not come under any pressure" as even the
US does not possess any evidence linking Saeed to terrorism.

Pakistan cannot take any steps to initiate a legal process
against Saeed in the absence of proof, he told a weekly news
briefing.

Basit said it was "strange" that the US State Department
had offered a bounty of millions of dollars for evidence and
information against Saeed and his deputy, Abdul Rahman Makki.

The clarification about the bounty by the State Department
spokesman yesterday made it clear that "even the US does not
possess evidence against the two individuals".

"We have clearly stated our position that there is no
concrete evidence (against Saeed). Pakistan would prefer to
have concrete evidence to initiate a legal process but in the
absence of that, we cannot do anything," he said.

The US has offered a reward of USD 10 million for Saeed,
the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba that was blamed for the
2008 Mumbai attacks, and a bounty of USD two million for
Makki. Pakistan has sought "concrete evidence" against the two
men from the US.

During the joint session of parliament, several lawmakers
raised the issue of the bounty on Saeed.

Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan pointed out
that there was no case or allegation against Saeed and the US
move was "mind boggling".

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the
American move was "ridiculous" as there was no case against
Saeed in the US and he was not hiding.

Parliamentary Committee on National Security chief Raza
Rabbani, a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People`s
Party, described the American announcement as ill-timed and
said the parliament would take any decision under pressure
from the US.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 23:19

comments powered by Disqus