'Hafiz Saeed has blood on his hands'

Washington, Nov 25: Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has "blood on his hands", and wants to bring extremism into the mainstream politics of Pakistan, a former top American spymaster said today. 

The Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head and LeT founder, who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, was freed by Pakistan yesterday. 

"Saeed is a terrorist. Worked with the LeT, a Kashmiri militant group, and al-Qaida on attacks," Michael Morell, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deputy director, who has also served twice as its acting director, said in a tweet. 

"He has blood on his hands. Now wants to bring extremism into the political mainstream in Pakistan," he said after Saeed, a UN and US designated terrorist, was released from house arrest in Lahore. 

Saeed, in his late 60s, was under house arrest for 297 days since January.

The fire-brand cleric's release after midnight came ahead of the 9th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed. 

A deeply concerned US has asked the Pakistan government to re-arrest and charge Saeed for his crimes. It also asked Pakistan to ensure that the LeT leader is behind bars. 

"NO! JuD is NOT tied to Islamic State. What a rookie... Seriously. Hafiz Saeed's Release Completes the Political Mainstreaming of Jihadists in Pakistan," tweeted Christine Fair, a well-known South Asian expert on terrorist groups. 

NBC news said Saeed's release could once again sour US relations with Pakistan.

The New York Times said, for decades, Pakistan has cast a benign eye on groups like LeT-  which is perceived as an asset
because its attacks target Indian soldiers in Kashmir- even as the government battles jihadist groups like the Pakistan Taliban that directly threatens the country.

PTI