Islamabad: It is Pakistan's responsibility to rein in 26/11 mastermind and Jamaat ud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed, said a leading daily that admitted the country has "an appalling record of bringing to justice those wanted for terrorism here or abroad".
An editorial in the influential Dawn newspaper Thursday said that the announcement by the US of a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed raises more questions than it answers.
"Washington links its decision to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
"The post-9/11 world has witnessed many bizarre events. But such a huge reward for targeting a man who has never attempted to hide himself and who moves about freely and addresses large crowds appears absurd," it said.
The daily said that after 9/11, "it took a decade for the world's remaining superpower, with seemingly unlimited intelligence capability, to track down al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden".
"So, how did Hafiz Saeed, who was not in hiding, get on the list?," it wondered.
The editorial said that of the many explanations, "the obvious deduction is that Washington wishes to appease New Delhi and bring more pressure to bear on Islamabad to make it amenable to its demands".
"There is also the view that after the ISI cracked down on CIA assets here it is now the latter agency's turn to turn the screw on its Pakistani counterpart."
Admitting that Pakistan has "an appalling record of bringing to justice those wanted for terrorism here or abroad", the daily said: "The pace of the trial of those behind the Mumbai carnage is a case in point."
"It has been some years since the tragedy took place and Pakistan arrested some key members of the LeT as alleged perpetrators. Even though the government claimed to have sufficient evidence against them, the in-camera trial has made little progress."
The editorial said it is widely known that the outlawed LeT was created by Hafiz Saeed.
"The responsibility, then, is Pakistan's to rein in Hafiz Saeed, probe allegations of terrorism against him and to take action if he is found to be involved in cross-border militancy.
"For its part, America should realise that by announcing head money for someone not in hiding it is setting a dangerous precedent. It would have been wiser to apply diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to get its message across," it added.
First Published: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 12:19