The White House calls for immediate re-arrest and prosecution of the Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT).
The White House condemned today the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan. “The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction”, warned the White House and called for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.
What is Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)?
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), also known as Army of the Pure or Army of the Righteous, is an Islamic militant organization based in Pakistan. It is a Sunni group, which follows the Ahle-Haith interpretation of Islam.
While the goals of LeT are rooted in its own interpretation of Islam in the context of global events, the group’s actions have been influenced and supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) since the early 1990s. LeT was used by Pakistan as the proxy to create instability in India.
LeT sees the fight against Indian control over Jammu and Kashmir as part of a global struggle against the oppression of Muslims. The goal of the group is to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Indian subcontinent.
The group was founded in 1990 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed as the military wing of Pakistani Islamist organization Markaz-ad-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI).
LeT has assisted with training, transport, and protection of Al Qaeda members including Ramzi Yusuf, mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
Foreign Terrorist Organizations list
LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for the death of hundreds of civilians in terrorist attacks, including American citizens.
- U.S. State Department Foreign Terrorist Organizations: 2001 to Present
- Pakistan List of Terrorist Organizations: 2002 to Present
- United Nations: 2005 to Present
- U.S. Department of Treasury: 2008 to Present
Who is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed?
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed stands accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that killed 166 people, including six American citizens.
The Saeed’s culpability has been confirmed and designated by the United Nations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
Since 2012, the United States has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to justice.
What does this mean for bilateral relations?
The release of Saeed, “sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan’s commitment to combatting international terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil”, warns the White House.
The US made it clear that if Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, this will have “repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation.”
While the United States seeks a constructive relationship with Pakistan, the Trump administration expects “decisive action against militant and terrorist groups on Pakistani soil that are a threat to the region.”