Underlining that it cannot take action against Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed in the absence of concrete proof,Pakistan on Thursday said that even the US does not possess any evidence linking the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief to terrorism.
Foreign Office spokes-man Abdul Basit said it was strange that the US State Department had offered a bounty of $10 million and $2 million for evidence and information against Saeed and his deputy,Abdul Rahman Makki respectively.
The clarification about the bounty issued by the US State Department spokesman on Wednesday made it clear that even the US does not possess evidence against the two individuals, he said.
We have clearly stated our position that there is no concrete evidence (against Saeed). Pakistan would prefer to have concrete evidence to initiate a legal process but in the absence of that,we cannot do anything, Basit said.
Basit refused to be drawn out on the purpose of the US bounties and whether the move was aimed at influencing Pakistans ongoing parliamentary review of its relationship with the US. The review was ordered by the government after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike last year.
A joint session of parliament is debating new terms of engagement with the US. Obviously,Pakistan would not come under any pressure because ours is a principled and legal position, Basit said. Pakistan believes US has respect for our judicial system and both countries should be mindful of each others limitations,he added.
The spokesman said he was not aware if there is a provision for offering a bounty under international law. A national government can take any step that is not in violation of the international law. I am not sure whether a bounty is covered under international law, he added.
Basit refused to state whether Saeed had figured in discussions on Wednesday between the countrys Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides,saying only that the two leaders had discussed all issues.
Issues such as the reward for Saeed have to be addressed through a legal procedure and it is not desirable to get into public discussion on such matters,the spokesman said.