Saeed shadow over PM-Zardari meet

Saeed shadow over PM-Zardari meet

Pak says it has no evidence to act against LeT chief

Saeed shadow over PM-Zardari meet

Hafiz Saeed has cast his shadow over Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to India, with Islamabad contradicting Washington and New Delhi to claim that it had not received any “solid or significant evidence” to act against the Jamat-ud-Dawa chief.

The US made it clear that it had announced a bounty of $ 10 million on Saeed “to bring him to justice” as it was convinced that the jihadi ideologue had played a key role in plotting the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. India too on Friday claimed that it had given to Pakistan “every detail” of the Lahore-based Jamat-ud-Dawa chief’s role in the carnage.

Pakistan, however, negated the US view and strongly rejected India’s claim, stating that it had not received any “hard evidence” to act against Saeed. The war of words between New Delhi and Islamabad came just two days before Pakistani President is likely to visit India on a private pilgrimage to the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer in Rajasthan. Zardari will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch during his brief stopover in New Delhi on Sunday.

“As everyone and their mother know at this point, he (Saeed) is hiding in plain sight in Pakistan. So we are not seeking his whereabouts. We certainly know that. We are seeking information that can be used to prosecute him,” the US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said in Washington. “I don’t believe he has (been indicted in a US court), but we certainly want to see him brought to justice.”

According to Toner, the US believes that Saeed was not only responsible for the attacks in Mumbai, but the LeT he had founded in 1990s was also involved with January 2010 attack on Srinagar Airport in Kashmir, December 2001 attack on Parliament in New Delhi, the July 2006 train bombings in Mumbai and the February 2010 attack on hotels in Kabul.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told media persons in Bangalore that the information provided by Home Minister P Chidambaram to the Pakistan Government had contained “every detail of Hafiz Saeed’s involvement in the planning and execution of the terrorist attack on Mumbai.”

“No amount of denial would exonerate them (Pakistan) unless there is a judicial inquiry into the whole episode whereby responsibilities can be fixed,” he added.
Pakistan strongly reacted to the statement of Krishna. Pakistan’s Foreign Office said India had not given “any solid and significant evidence” against Saeed.

Islamabad said that action could “only be taken on the basis of solid evidence”. “From its own Mumbai trial experience, India knows well that hearsay cannot substitute for hard evidence,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in Islamabad.”