White House condemns Pakistan's release of militant suspect

Hafiz Saeed speaks to supporters after attending Friday Prayers in Lahore

Hafiz Saeed speaks to supporters after attending Friday Prayers in Lahore

Chief of the banned outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Hafiz Saeed, had been under house arrest since January. This was following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which claimed 166 lives, including six American nationals.

Responding to the India's reaction, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal in a statement issued late Friday said that "Pakistan remains committed to the implementation of UNSC 1267 sanctions regime and has taken several steps in this regard". The U.S. has a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

"The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan", a statement from the State Department declared on Friday.

People across Mumbai gathered Sunday to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks by laying wreaths and lighting candles.

A clear global consensus exists regarding Saeed's culpability as he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008, she said.

Saeed has consistently denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

In an extraordinarily strong statement on the subject, the White House just stopped short of calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism+, saying the country's failure to prosecute or charge Saeed, "sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to combatting worldwide terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil".

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His release came after a panel of judges dismissed a government request to continue his house arrest, which ended Thursday.

Saeed's release suggests Pakistan's military, which has controlled the nation for much of its 70-year history, is once again asserting control over the country's civilian authorities and that terrorism suspects won't be genuinely prosecuted by Islamabad, said Harsh Pant, an global relations professor at King's College London.

The move to free Saeed infuriated officials in India and the us, who have urged Pakistan to punish those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

"Pakistan condemns and opposes all forms of terrorism by any individual or group".

Last month, however, the Trump administration appeared to revise its hard line against Islamabad. He also expressed a desire to see India - Pakistan's archrival - become an active stakeholder in stabilizing Afghanistan.

For years, the Pakistanis have been blamed by the USA for not doing enough in their counterterrorism efforts to end the Afghan war - the longest military engagement in America's history. In 2010, he told The Independent: "They make me out to be the biggest and most evil terrorist".

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