US offers $10m for Hafiz Saeed
04 April, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The United States has offered a $10 million bounty for Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, blamed for the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
The reward for Saeed, who makes frequent public appearances in Pakistan, was announced by US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman in India on Monday and posted on the US government's Rewards for Justice website.
The money offered for information leading to Saeed's arrest and conviction is the same as the sum offered by the US for Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.
Only al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri commands a larger bounty – $25 million.
Saeed is head of the banned charity Jamaatud Dawa, seen as a front for LeT. On March 27, he addressed thousands of people at a rally in Islamabad urging Pakistan not to reopen its Afghan border to NATO and US supply convoys.
The Rewards for Justice notice said Saeed was "suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which resulted in the deaths of 166 people, including six American citizens".
Under the scheme overseen by the State Department, the US pays out bounties for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a named suspect.
Washington also posted a $2 million reward for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, described as LeT's second-in-command.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate comment to make on the US announcement, while the government in New Delhi welcomed the move, saying it reflected the commitment of India and the US to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.
"It also sends a strong signal to LeT, and also its members and patrons, that the international community remains united in combating terrorism," the Indian Foreign Ministry said.
Dawa gave a defiant response, condemning the US move and saying it was made to "please India".
"Hafiz Saeed is not a fugitive, he is not on the run, he is not living in caves, he has not committed any crime and the court has declared him an innocent person," Hafiz Muhammad Masood, the group's central information secretary told AFP by telephone from Lahore.
"He is continuing his activities and the bounty announcement will not affect them."
Pakistan put Saeed under house arrest a month after the Mumbai attacks. But he was freed in 2009.