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Pak religious groups scoff at bounty on Hafiz Saeed

April 04, 2012 09:30 IST

Following the announcement of $10 million bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed by the United States, religious groups across Pakistan have strongly condemned the decision, and have termed it as an attack over 'Islam' and 'Muslims'.

Religious circles in Pakistan believe that the decision is based on two things -- to please India -- and to discourage Difa-e Pakistan Council's strong resolve against the reopening of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supply routes through Pakistan and drone strikes.

The JuD in its statement has said that all the 'conspiracies' were hatched by the US, India and their allies against Pakistan's sovereignty and the US move indicated 'the negative tactics being adopted by them in frustration of their ulterior motives and plans being foiled by the DPC'.

Reacting to the US decision, Hafiz Saeed told the media, "This is an Indian decision, not an American one. I have been acquitted by the lower and the apex judiciary of Pakistan of all the charges levelled against me by the government under pressure from the US. This announcement is a slap on the judiciary of Pakistan."

The LeT chief has asked the US to respect his country's laws while at the same time has warned if the Pakistani government surrendered to the Americans then he will take his case to public court. "If the Pakistani authorities bow to the US pressure, I will go to the masses of my country for justice," he added.

Calling himself free of any kind of charges, Saeed is ready to meet any Indian or American official or diplomat.

"I welcome whoever (from the US or India) wants to meet me to produce evidence. If I was really involved in the 26/11 attacks and if I had any relation with the chief accused, Ajmal Kasab, why has India not allowed the delegations of Pakistani lawyers who visited the country to probe the attacks to meet him?" he asked.

Saeed said that India was building dams on the rivers flowing into Pakistan and was trying to find a route to enter the markets of Central Asia through Pakistan. "But Pakistan is not a corridor, it's a country and we won't allow our country become a mere corridor for people to do their business" he added.

Statements have surfaced from the leaders of Jamiat Ulema e Islam-Fazl, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Jamiat e Ulema Islam- Samiul Haq, Jamaat e Islami, Dawat-Ahl-e-Hadees, Majlis Ahrar-e-Islam, International Khatam-e-Nabuwat and Jamiate Ahl-e-Hadees that have severely criticised the US decision.

In statement JUI-F senior leader Khursheed Abbas Gardezi said that the US decision will create anti-American sentiments all around the world. "An attack on Saeed is an attack on Islam, and Muslims countries will retaliate," he said.

JI senior leader Ashraf Ali said, "We would like to tell India and the US that Saeed and Abdul Rahman Makki (Saeed's deputy) are not in hiding, and have been serving Muslims openly. The JuD welfare activities can be witnessed by everyone and both the leaders will continue to serve the people of Pakistan and Muslim Ummah."

Calling Saeed the most favorite religious and social leader of Pakistan, International Khatam-e Nabuwat leader Ismail Shujabaad said, "Saeed is respected across the Muslim world."

A statement from Jamiat-e-Ahle-Hadees which is co-party in the DPC said, "The LeT founder, along with the JuD, has been struggling for the sovereignty, respect and integrity of Pakistan. We will support him till our death."

Tahir Ali in Islamabad