Militant with US bounty walks free in Pakistan
[AP] LAHORE, Pakistan - The United States has put a $10 million bounty on his head, labeling him a terrorist. He is one of the most wanted men in India. Yet, Hafiz Saeed walks free in his home country of Pakistan, denouncing Washington and New Delhi in public speeches.
Now the man identified by the U.S. as a founding member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group is weighing in on the flare-up of violence in Kashmir, the mountainous region divided between Pakistani and Indian control, where dozens have died in clashes with protesters after Indian security forces killed a top rebel leader.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Saeed accused the U.S. of giving India a free hand to crush the anti-India protests in its Himalayan territory, warning that will only lead to an escalation of violence.
"America is supporting this oppression by India by saying it is an internal matter," the 66-year-old Saeed said in the interview, which took place Wednesday at his two-story home behind a steel barrier separating it from the narrow streets of the eastern city of Lahore.
"This has given India encouragement, and because of this, the killings and violence" will continue, he said.
Washington has said it will not intervene. But U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, speaking to reporters Thursday, disagreed with the suggestion by Saeed and others that the U.S. is aloof and therefore partly responsible for the crackdown. She said the U.S. has had discussions with both India and Pakistan about the violence in Kashmir.
"We are very concerned about the deaths of the protesters," Trudeau said. "That’s of grave concern to us. We continue to be in touch with the government of India. We’ve been in discussions with the government of Pakistan as well."
Saeed said he will lead nationwide demonstrations in Pakistan to force its government to sever ties with the U.S. if it cannot convince Washington to intervene in the decades-old Kashmir dispute. The two countries, which also possess nuclear weapons, have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.
Posted by: Besoeker 2016-07-15