India today welcomed the US announcement of a bounty of USD 10 million on Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, saying it sends a strong signal to Lashker-e- Toiba and its patrons.
“India welcomes US notification under the Rewards for Justice Programme. (It) sends a strong signal to LeT as also its members and patrons that the international community remains united in combating terrorism,” MEA Official Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Twitter.
Under the Rewards for Justice Programme, the US has announced a bounty of USD 10 million on the head of Saeed.
He said the announcement of the bounty reflects commitment of India and the US to bring perpetrators of Mumbai terrorist attack to justice and continuing efforts to combat terrorism.
Akbaruddin was referring to US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman’s statement on the bounty issue yesterday.
Saeed, the founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba, is on India’s most wanted list. After the 26/11 attacks that left 166 people dead, India has asked Pakistan to hand him over.
Later, in a statement Akbaruddin said the US maintains both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ul-Dawa as foreign terrorist organisations and has also individually designated Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Abdul Rahman Makki for terrorist activities under its law.
“In recent years, India and the United States have deepened mutual understanding on the nature of terrorism challenges emanating from India’s neighbourhood,” he said.
The two sides agree that all terrorist organisations, including LeT, should be defeated and have called for elimination of terrorist safe havens and infrastructure inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He also said India and the US have strengthened their counter-terrorism cooperation through the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism, Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative, the Homeland Security Dialogue and regular exchanges between intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Saeed among only 4 terrorists with USD 10 mln bounty on head
Islamabad: Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has became one of only four terrorist leaders for whom the US has offered a bounty of USD 10 million, joining the likes of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
The only person with a higher bounty on his head than these four terrorist leaders is Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, for whom the US has offered a reward of USD 25 million under its Rewards for Justice programme.
Besides 61-year-old Saeed, the other terrorist leaders who carry a bounty of USD 10 million on their head are Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Du’a, one-eyed Mullah Omar and Yasin al-Suri alias Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, a senior Al-Qaeda facilitator based in Iran.
The listing for Saeed on the Rewards for Justice website describes him as a former professor of Arabic and Engineering who was a founding member of “Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a radical Deobandi Islamist organisation dedicated to installing Islamist rule over parts of India and Pakistan, and its military branch, Lashkar-e-Taiba”.
“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 listing further states.
The website noted that India has issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Saeed for his role in the Mumbai attacks. Besides, the US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a “Specially Designated National under Executive Order 13224”.
The Order provides a means to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist groups by authorising the US government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
The US has also offered a USD two million bounty for Saeed’s deputy Abdul Rahman Makki, who is described on the Rewards for Justice website as the “second in command” of the LeT.
The US designated the LeT a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation” in December 2001 and the JuD was given the same designation in April 2008.
The UN Security Council declared the JuD a terrorist organisation in December 2008, soon after the Mumbai attacks.
Saeed, born on May 6, 1950 at Sargodha in Punjab province, was put under house arrest for less than six months after the Mumbai attacks, largely due to pressure from the international community.
He was freed in 2009 on the orders of the Lahore High Court.
Though the LeT was banned by the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan government has not formally outlawed the JuD.
The JuD also carries out its activities through the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, which was created in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
In recent months, Saeed has played a key role in cobbling together the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a conglomerate of over 40 hardline and extremist groups that has organised massive rallies against the US and India across Pakistan.