Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

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The United States has publicly rebuked Pakistan after it released an Islamist leader accused of organising the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Lahore High Court review board on Wednesday ordered the release of firebrand cleric Hafiz Saeed, who carries a $10 million USA bounty, after prosecution failed to back the charges of terrorism with evidence.

The Spokesperson said that the Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.

A Pakistani court on Wednesday rejected the government plea seeking to extend Saeed's detention for another three months on the grounds that his release would undermine public safety. However his detention was later kept on being extended multiple times.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was behind the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that left 168 people dead, and Saeed is designated as a terrorist by the USA government.

LeT and several of its front organizations, leaders, and operatives remain under both State Department and Treasury Department sanctions. "Since 2012, the United States has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice", the statement said.

Addressing his supporters, Saeed blamed India for terrorist activity in Pakistan and said he was fighting for independence for Pakistan and Kashmir, according to his spokesman Nadeem Awan.

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"You took oath to defend Pakistan and Kashmir, you betrayed the people of Kashmir".

The firebrand cleric's release after midnight came a little ahead of the 9th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. "I was detained on the pressure of the U.S. on the Pakistani government. on the request of India".

"India, as indeed the entire global community, is outraged that a self-confessed and a United Nations proscribed terrorist is allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda", Raveesh Kumar, India's foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters at a weekly briefing in New Delhi on Thursday.

"If the leaders of the Pakistan start making their own decisions, they will no longer face external pressure", the leader of the proscribed group said.

"Saeed has been freed as the Punjab government decided not to detain him further in any other case", a top government official told PTI.

"I fight for the cause of Kashmiris".

On 31 January, Saeed and his four aides Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid, and Qazi Kashif Hussain were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997. There was no official comment from India, which had earlier said that his impending release showed Pakistan was not honest in fighting terrorism.