Rezaul H Laskar
Two days after the US slapped a $10 million bounty on him,Hafiz Mohammad Saeed held a defiant media conference close to Pakistans military headquarters in Rawalpindi,daring the US to carry out a military raid against him like the one that killed Osama bin Laden.
I am here,I am visible. America should give that reward money to me, Saeed said on Wednesday,adding,I will be in Lahore tomorrow. America can contact me whenever it wants to.
The Lashkar-e-Toiba founder was addressing a news conference with other leaders of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council at a hotel in the garrison city of Rawalpindi,close to Islamabad. He said no one from the government had contacted him regarding the bounty,though it was the duty of the administration to look after all Pakistani citizens.
Taunting the US,he said he would inform American authorities about his whereabouts and offered to make public his itinerary. If the US gave him the bounty,Saeed added,he would use the money in Balochistan and give an account for its expenditure. He reiterated that his organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah and its workers had no links to the 2008 Mumbai attacks and contended that there was no evidence against him. It is unfortunate that the US does not accept Pakistani courts. It is not even ready to accept Pakistan. The US is today bowing before India, he said. The US has become blind due to its hatred for Islam… My death will be decided by Allah and not the US, he added.
Saeed pledged to continue his campaign to prevent reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan,claiming such a move would allow the US and India to increase their interference in Pakistan. After the news of the US bounty broke,Saeed appeared on talk shows on leading Pakistani news channels Tuesday night.
Pakistan seeks concrete evidence
Pakistan on Wednesday sought concrete evidence from the US against top Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) leaders Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Abdul Rehman Makki following the announcement of bounties for them,saying this was necessary to proceed legally in the matter.
Pakistan would prefer to receive concrete evidence to proceed legally rather than to be engaging in a public discussion on this issue, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in response to the US bounties on Saeed and his deputy Makki.