Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deputy director Michael Morell has criticised 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s release from house arrest on Friday, saying the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief has blood on his hands and now he wants to bring extremism into the political mainstream in Pakistan.
“Saeed is a terrorist. Worked with LeT, a Kashmiri militant group, and al-Qaida on attacks. He has blood on his hands. Now wants to bring extremism into the political mainstream in Pakistan,” Morell said in a tweet.
Mumbai attack mastermind Saeed was released Friday ahead of the 9th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.
The Trump administration too has expressed “deep concern” over Saeed’s release and asked the Pakistan government to make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes. A statement issued by US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in Washington DC and distributed by the US embassy in Delhi said, “The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan. LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens. The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.”
Coming out of house arrest, the JuD chief spewed venom against India and said he would gather people across Pakistan for the “cause of Kashmir” and try to help Kashmiris get their “destination of freedom”.
Saeed was the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead. Ten terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, had gone on a killing spree in the financial capital after reaching the city from Karachi by sea.
The dreaded terrorist carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities. Saeed has been under detention since January this year. Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack but was released about six months later in June 2009.