M A I N   N E W S

Act against 26/11 plotter Saeed, India tells Pak
Hails US announcement of big reward on global terrorist
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, April 3
The US announcement of $10 million bounty on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s head was today whole-heartedly welcomed by India, which again asked Pakistan to speedily act against the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack.

Addressing a press conference here, Home Minister P Chidambaram hoped Pakistan would now not go through the “farce of a trial” and bring Saeed to justice for the massacre in which at least 170 persons, including foreigners, were killed. “The US announcement should prod Pakistan to take action against Saeed… there is enough material with Pakistan to do that,” he added.

Late last night, Washington announced an award of $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed and $2 million for his aide Hafiz Adbul Makki. In her talks with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, visiting US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman is believed to have conveyed Washington’s decision to New Delhi.

The “wanted” notice announcing the large bounty for Saeed was posted on the website of the State Department's Rewards for Justice Programme. The programme was established in 1984 and has paid some $100 million to more than 70 people for information on terrorists. Rewards go as high as 25 million dollars for information on Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The State Department calls the programme “one of the most valuable assets the US Government has in the fight against international terrorism.” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said: “India welcomes the notification under the Rewards for Justice Programme. It reflects the commitment of India and the US to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice and continue efforts to combat terrorism.”

He also stated that the US decision had sent a strong signal to LeT as also its members and patrons that the international community remained united in combating terrorism. Responding to a question, the minister said Saeed was “safely tucked away” somewhere in Pakistan. “The US which keeps a tab on all these terrorists around the world, would have kept a tab on Saeed…these terrorists and conspirators cannot be spared and they will have to be brought to justice and that is what we have been demanding from Pakistan.”

The US decision, which is bound to put pressure on Islamabad to act against the LeT founder, comes five days ahead of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to India to offer prayers at Ajmer Sharif.

Asked if Manmohan Singh would take up the Saeed issue with the Pakistani leader, Chidambaram said: “I don’t know what issues the PM will take up but since it is a private visit that may not be the occasion…but we will raise it at every forum.”

New Delhi is also anguished that Pakistan has not provided voice samples of those who planned and executed the Mumbai attack. Islamabad had promised to provide the voice samples when Chidambaram had visited Pakistan in June 2010. However, it has reneged on its commitment by giving one excuse or another.

Indian officials say Saeed had been roaming about freely in Pakistan spewing venom against India but Pakistan had done nothing to check his activities. 





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