With the US announcing a $ 10-million reward for Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and $ 2 million for his deputy Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki,New Delhi on Tuesday piled pressure on Pakistan to act against the two men.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said there was enough material to detain and interrogate Saeed,the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks,and that Pakistan was not doing its duty.
The US decision should prod Pakistan into taking action against him. Pakistan cant go through with this farce of a trial (of some 26/11 accused), Chidambaram said.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna welcomed the notification under the Rewards for Justice Programme. It reflects the commitment of India and the US to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice and continuing efforts to combat terrorism, he said.
It also sends a strong signal to Lashkar-e-Toiba as also its members and patrons that the international community remains united in combating terrorism.
Despite the strong language,however,New Delhi remains determined that the US notification on Saeed and Makki would not cast a shadow over the visit of Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari to Delhi and Ajmer on April 8,sources told The Indian Express. Zardari will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch.
He (Zardari) is coming on a private visit and it might not be the best occasion to raise this issue. But we will raise it at every other available platform, Chidambaram said.
The US announced in Washington DC on Monday the reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of Saeed and Makki under the Rewards for Justice programme,Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on Tuesday.
According to the Rewards website,Saeed is now among the top five individuals wanted for terrorism by the US government,and one of four terrorist leaders along with Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar,for whom a bounty of $ 10 million has been declared.
Only al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri,who tops the most-wanted list,carries a larger reward of $ 25 million.
While other terrorists on the list are on the run,Saeed has virtually a free run in Pakistan. He frequently appears in public,and was recently seen sharing the stage with former Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
According to the Rewards site,the US secretary of state may authorize rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans,commits,or attempts international terrorist acts against US persons or property,that prevents such acts from occurring in the first place,that leads to the location of a key terrorist leader,or that disrupts terrorism financing.
The US has designated both Lashkar and Jamaat as foreign terrorist organisations,and Saeed and Makki as terrorists under its law.
Home secretary R K Singh said the US move is proof that Pakistan harbours terrorists. I think it has become clear before the world and everybody recognises that a terror mastermind,who was instrumental in terror attacks,is being sheltered and harboured there (Pakistan), Singh told reporters.
We welcome it. It is a very good step. It is absolutely appropriate and necessary. I hope this move will add pressure on Pakistan to act, Singh said.
Krishna said Saeed is safely tucked away somewhere in Pakistan,and the US would have kept a tab on him.
I have always been insisting that he was the brain behind the terror attack on Mumbai. These terrorists and conspirators cannot be spared and they will have to be brought to justice and that is what we have been demanding from Pakistan, Krishna said.
Krishna said India and the US have in recent years deepened mutual understanding on the nature of terrorism challenges emanating from Indias neighbourhood. Chidambaram said the US decision will help India in sharing information on Saeed and JuD with American authorities.
The MEA spokesperson said India and the US agree that all terrorist organisations,including the LeT,should be defeated,and have called for the elimination of terrorist safe havens and infrastructure in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The spokesperson also said that US under secretary of state for political Affairs Wendy Sherman had conveyed to foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai on Monday Washingtons intention to take additional steps to deal with terrorists like Saeed and Makki. Mathai had expressed New Delhis sincere appreciation,the spokesperson said.