Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Most-wanted list terrorist Hafiz Saeed responds to $10 million bounty.(AlYazeera).Hafiz Saeed, the leader of a Pakistan-based group blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, has demanded proof after the US announced a $10m bounty on his head. In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Saeed said the US move was prompted by the fact that he had been organising rallies against the re-opening of supply lines through Pakistan to NATO forces in Afghanistan. "We are not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding us," Saeed said.
"I think the US is frustrated because we are taking out countrywide protests against the resumption of NATO supplies and drone strikes. "I believe either the US has very little knowledge and is basing its decisions on wrong information being provided by India, or they are just frustrated". US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, on a visit to India, said a $3m bounty had also been announced for Abdul Rahman Makki, Saeed's brother-in-law. Rewards for Justice, a programme sponsored by the US State Department, announced the cash reward for the 62-year-old Saeed on its website. "Saeed is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which resulted in the deaths of 166 people, including six American citizens,” the page said. Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman involved in the three-day rampage in November 2008, has been sentenced to death by an Indian court. Kasab accused Saeed of organising the attack, which involved 10 gunmen, nine of whom were killed during the shootout. Lashkar-e-Taiba, designated as a terrorist organisation by the US in December 2001, is accused by India of carrying out several attacks, including the one on Mumbai. India welcomed the move as a reflection of the commitment by India and the US "to bring perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks" to justice. "[The bounty] sends a strong signal to Lashkar-e-Taiba as also its members and patrons that the international community remains united in combating terrorism," Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for India's ministry of external affairs said on Twitter. Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Lahore, where Saeed is believed to be based, said Pakistan was pressured to ban Saeed's organisations after the US invasion of Afghanistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba was the military wing of his larger organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawah. “A man who is popular across the country - it's not going to go down very well. It is also symbolic that the annoucment came in India, by a high-ranking US diplomat. That will be an irritant.”The bounty on Saeed, equivalent to that on Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, is second only to the $25m bounty on Ayman al Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the al-Qaeda chief.Read the full story here.