• Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pakistan 'charity head' lambasts US

BBC Online
Hafiz Saeed, leader of a banned Islamic group Jamat-ud-Dawa and prime suspect in the Mumbai terror attacks. Photo: AP
Hafiz Saeed, leader of a banned Islamic group Jamat-ud-Dawa and prime suspect in the Mumbai terror attacks. Photo: AP

The head of a Pakistani charity group whom the US and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks has dismissed new US sanctions.

Hafiz Saeed told the BBC the US was only targeting Jamaat-ud Dawa to win India's backing in Afghanistan.

The US says the self-declared charity is a front for militant group Lashkar-e Toiba and has offered a $10m (£6m) reward for the arrest of Saeed.

The Mumbai attack by Pakistani gunmen left 166 people dead.

Relations between India and Pakistan suffered badly in the aftermath of the three-day assault in the southern Indian city.

'PROPAGANDA'

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew North in the Pakistani city of Lahore, Saeed said the US was targeting his organisation simply to please India.

"America always takes decisions based on Indian dictation. Now it's imposing this new ban because it needs India's help in Afghanistan.

"I had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks, and Pakistan's courts said all India's evidence against me was just propaganda," he said.

The US last week declared Jamaat-ud Dawa a "foreign terrorist organisation" - a move that freezes any assets it has under US jurisdiction.

Both India and the US say they have extensive evidence that Saeed orchestrated the attacks with the Pakistani government help. India has also repeatedly demanded that he be handed over for trial.

Despite this, Saeed lives openly in Lahore, and it is clear that he has little fear of being arrested in Pakistan, our correspondent says.

But he adds that as long as Saeed remains free, there is little chance of a breakthrough in relations between Pakistan and its longstanding rival India.

Published: 10:46 am Monday, June 30, 2014

Last modified: 9:50 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

TAGS: India Pakistan Jamaat-ud Dawa Mumbai attack

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