The Pakistan court on Wednesday ordered Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to be released from detention in Lahore, just four days before the ninth anniversary of the deadly 26/11 Mumbai attacks which left 166 people dead. Hafiz Saeed may walk free on Thursday if the government does not detain him in any other case.
“Nine years after 26/11 Mumbai Attacks, its mastermind still eludes justice. It is time to rescind Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally,” Bruce Riedel, a top US expert on security, South Asia, and counter-terrorism told PTI.
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“This release is an outrage,” Alyssa Ayres, a former State Department official and currently with the Council on Foreign Relations told PTI after Lahore High Court ordered that Hafiz Saeed should be set free.
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“Before long we will read news reports of Hafiz Saeed leading more rallies with thousands of people,” she said. “Pakistan cannot credibly claim to be fighting terrorism while failing its most basic security obligation to UNSC designations,” according to Ayres.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, attributed the release of Hafiz Saeed to the mixed messaging coming from the Trump administration in the last few weeks.
US officials were trying to signal to Pakistan that if it takes action against Haqqani network, that could be seen as a positive move and “may thwart” tougher actions against Islamabad, as promised by President Donald Trump in his new South Asia policy, he said.
“In the process, they (the US) may have inadvertently made the Pakistani think that the US only wants action against the Haqqani network and not against groups like LeT, that are acting against India,” he said.
“My fear is that mixed signals will lead to a situation in which Pakistan fails to take decisive action against Afghan-oriented and India oriented terrorist groups,” Haqqani told PTI in response to a question.