Pakistan will not act against Hafiz Saeed 'sahib' as there is no case registered against him in the country, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said, giving a clean chit to the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind.
Saeed, the chief of the 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-Taiba (LeT), a group Saeed founded in 1987. LeT was responsible for carrying the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
Abbasi, during an interview to Geo TV on Tuesday, referred to 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 Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist.
After his release from house arrest, Saeed had confirmed that the JuD will contest the 2018 general elections under the banner of the Milli Muslim League, which is yet to be registered with the Election Commission.
The US has said it was concerned about Saeed running for office in Pakistan despite carrying a USD 10 million bounty on his head for terror activities. It had also asked Pakistan to re-arrest him.
When asked why the Pakistan government did not let Saeed's party go mainstream, Abbasi claimed that it was not the government's decision and that the Election Commission acts according to its own rules.
He also said there was no danger of a war with India and both countries should ensure there is no escalation of the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
"I don't think there is a danger of war, at least from our side, it is not there. Pakistan has never taken unilateral action, we have always demonstrated responsibility," Abbasi said.
"If they believe on the other side there will be some political benefits and they keep making statements, as their military leadership has done, this has never been good for peace," he said.
Responding to a question on Army chief General Bipin Rawat's remarks about calling Pakistans "nuclear bluff", Abbasi said: "The Indian Army chief will not speak in favour of us. It is a fact that Pakistan has nuclear capability and we have demonstrated it."
He said India must understand that when there are violations at the LoC, there would be retaliation.