Pakistani militant mocks US for $10m bounty

2012-04-04 19:03

Rawalpindi - One of Pakistan's most notorious extremists mocked the United States during a defiant media conference close to the country's military headquarters on Wednesday, a day after the US slapped a $10m bounty on him.

"I am here, I am visible. America should give that reward money to me," Saeed said, referring to the fact that the bounty was given to a man whose whereabouts is not a mystery. "I will be in Lahore tomorrow. America can contact me whenever it wants to."

Analysts have said that Pakistan is unlikely to arrest Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, because of his alleged links with the country's intelligence agency and the political danger of doing Washington's bidding in a country where anti-American sentiment is rampant.

Saeed, 61, has been accused of orchestrating the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six American citizens. But he operates openly in Pakistan, giving public speeches and appearing on TV talk shows.

He has used his high-profile status in recent months to lead a protest movement against US drone strikes and the resumption of Nato supplies for troops in Afghanistan sent through Pakistan. The supplies were suspended in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The US said on Tuesday it issued the bounty for information leading to Saeed's arrest and conviction in response to his increasingly "brazen" appearances. It also offered up to $2m for Lashkar-e-Taiba's deputy leader, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, who is Saeed's brother-in-law.

The rewards marked a shift in the long standing U.S. calculation that going after the leadership of an organisation used as a proxy by the Pakistani military would cause too much friction with the Pakistani government.

"I think the sense has been over the past few months that this kind of reward might hasten the justice system," US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

The US could hope the bounty will force Pakistan to curb Saeed's activities, even if it isn't willing to arrest him. But the press conference he called in the garrison town of Rawalpindi just outside Islamabad was an early sign it may not have much impact.

He also gave multiple interviews on Tuesday in which he denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks and said the US was just trying to prevent him from telling the nation that the government should not allow Nato supplies to resume.

"With the grace of God, we are doing our work in Pakistan openly. It is regrettable that America has no information about me. Such rewards are usually for those who live in caves and mountains," Saeed told The Associated Press in a mosque in Islamabad.

The bounty offers could complicate US efforts to get the supply line reopened. Pakistan's parliament is currently debating a revised framework for ties with the US that Washington hopes will get supplies moving again.

But the bounties could be seen by lawmakers and the country's powerful army as a provocation and an attempt to gain favor with India.

US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides was scheduled to hold talks with senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad on Wednesday about the parliamentary review.

The announcement of the rewards also could signal a greater willingness to take a hard line with Pakistan following a year in which the relationship between the two countries severely deteriorated.

That process started last January when a CIA contractor shot and killed two Pakistanis he said were trying to rob him. It continued with the covert unilateral US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May and the deadly US airstrikes against Pakistani troops in November.

Saeed founded Lashkar-e-Taiba in the 1980s allegedly with ISI support to pressure Pakistan's archenemy India.

The two countries have fought three major wars since they were carved out of the British empire in 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Pakistan banned the group in 2002 under US pressure, but it operates with relative freedom under the name of its social welfare wing Jamaat-ud-Dawwa - even doing charity work using government money.

The US has designated both groups foreign terrorist organisations. Intelligence officials and terrorism experts say Lashkar-e-Taiba has expanded its focus beyond India in recent years and has plotted attacks in Europe and Australia. Some have called it "the next al-Qaeda" and fear it could set its sights on the US.

Pakistan faces a homegrown terrorism problem as well. A bomb planted in a passenger van exploded on Wednesday in a violent region near the Afghan border, killing six people, said Iqbal Khan, a government administrator in the Khyber tribal area where the attack occurred.

- AP

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  lashkar-e-taiba  |  osama bin laden  |  pakistan  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.