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Wendy Sherman, a US political affairs representative, informed foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai that the US will announce a $10MM bounty for Hafiz Saeed, who is said to be the mastermind behind the 2001 attack on the Parliament in New Delhi, the July 2006 train attacks in Mumbai, as well as the 26/11 attacks in the city. While he has been detained in Pakistan in the past, on October 12, 2009, the Lahore High Court had quashed all cases against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and set him free.

HT reports that this reward is at par with Taliban founder Mullah Omar, who the US holds responsible for 9/11.  Saeed founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, and is one of their most prominent leaders.  This bounty announcement comes weeks after his recent presence in Pakistan over the last two months.  Earlier this year, he led the “Defense of Pakistan Council” movement in a rally in Karachi, where almost 30,000 people gathered near a monument of Jinnah.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Recently, when news broke of Pakistan giving India MFN status, Saeed said, “The Pakistan government is conspiring with the US to give in to Indian supremacy (in the region). Granting the MFN-status to India is part of that plan. We must oppose this.”

Pak Rally March 30th, Pic courtesy Reuters

As late as last week, Saeed, who didn’t have police permission to enter Islamabad, dodged the police anyway with his entourage and appeared at a rally there.   There, he urged the Defa-e-Pakistan Council to pressure the government not to reopen NATO supply routes which were shut down last year.

Given his re-emergence in the public arena, this bounty from America seems to have more to do with his opposition to the West than to his past roles in the terror attacks in India, but does it really matter?  Probably not. 

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