Hafiz Saeed, the founder of banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), now carries a $10 million bounty on his head, The Times of India and Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
The US has announced the reward for the capture or any information leading to the capture of Saeed, making him one of the most wanted persons in the world.
In her maiden visit to India, US Undersecretary of State for political affairs Wendy Sherman told officials and a select audience at the Aspen Institute that apart from Saeed, his brother-in-law and co-founder of LeT Abdul Rehman Makki now carries a bounty of $2 million on his head.
LeT, and principally Saeed, are accused of planning and executing the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. The US has also placed a bounty of $25 million on the head of Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, making him the most wanted terrorist in the world. Saeed is now in the second tier as he will join the links of Mullah Omar and the al-Qaeda chiefs of Iran and Iraq, all of whom carry a reward of $10 million.
Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) spokeperson Yahya Mujahid was not willing to comment on the development despite repeated attempts to contact him.
Earlier, the US State Department had strongly urged Pakistan to prevent Hafiz Saeed from moving freely in the country, freeze the assets of the groups associated with him and stop allowing LeT from acquiring weapons.
“The US government is concerned about the recent public appearances of Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed, including at a recent rally in Karachi,” said the department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
“Lashkar-e-Taiba, and its front group Jamaatud Dawa, are internationally sanctioned because of their associations with al Qaeda. We have and continue to urge the government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989,” she said. She recalled that this resolution called for all countries to “freeze assets of sanctioned groups, prevent the transfer of arms to them, and prevent sanctioned individuals from entering or transiting their territories”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.