United States concerned over release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest

"Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Freed from house arrest, Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, today immediately launched his anti-India rhetoric by saying he would mobilise people for the "cause of Kashmir".

Hafiz Saeed speaks to journalists after Pakistan's government placed him under house arrest on January 30 in Lahore. This week, a three-judge panel ordered his release after rejecting the government's request to keep him in detention.

Following the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which six American citizens were also killed, Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008. LeT and several of its front organisations, leaders and operatives remain under both state department and treasury department sanctions.

According to the AP, Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India's External Affairs Ministry, said Saeed's release "confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistani government in bringing to justice perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism".

His release, he believes, is a gift from God that further cements his fight to take Kashmir from India.

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"Peace can not be established in Pakistan if terrorists such as Kulbashan Jadhav continue to enter the country", Saeed said, referring to the Indian spy who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and terrorism.

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen attacked targets in India's largest city, including two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and a train station in a rampage that killed 166 people.

It had submitted before the review board that release of Saeed could lead to the imposition of global sanctions on Pakistan. "India, as indeed the entire worldwide community, is outraged that a self-confessed and United Nations proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda", foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had saidon Thursday.

The Punjab Home Department was against the release of Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed urged the Pakistan government not to hold peace dialogue with India till it withdraws its army from Kashmir.

December 2008: Pakistan bans JuD. He said he would continue fighting for Kashmiris till they get freedom.

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