India on Monday described Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed as the “evil mastermind” behind the Mumbai terror attacks, hours after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said that Saeed is “free to roam around” since Pakistan’s courts have acquitted him.
The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “Our views on Hafiz Saeed are very clear. To us, he is the evil mastermind of the attacks on Mumbai and one of the accused in an Indian court for killings on streets of Mumbai. We have repeatedly asked Pakistan that he should be apprehended and taken through normal judicial process. Alas! He has never been arrested on account of 26/11. Therefore…. he is only free because he is a Pakistani citizen.”
The MEA spokesperson further said, “99 per cent evidence in this case is in Pakistan. That is because the entire conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. The planning for this dastardly act was done in Pakistan. The financing for this act was undertaken in Pakistan and people involved in this were from Pakistan. Therefore, it has always been our view that it devolves on Pakistan that it ensures that criminals like Hafiz Saeed were brought to book and justice was delivered in the instance of crime in Mumbai.”
The remarks came after the Pakistan envoy said, “Hafiz Saeed is a Pakistani national so he is free to roam around. So what is the problem…he is a free citizen so there is no issue as far as Pakistan is concerned. Courts have already exonerated him. There is no case pending against him.”
India has consistently protested the slow pace of trial in Pakistan on the Mumbai terror attacks, in which 166 people were killed in 2008.