Action against Hafiz Saeed subject to judicial assessment of US evidence: Gilani

Published: April 6, 2012

Gilani terms Hafiz Saeed prosecution as an internal matter, US must present its evidences in Pakistani courts. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: While terming it an internal matter, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday subjected any action against ‘wanted’ Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to the judiciary’s assessment of any evidence that the United States may share with Pakistan against him.

In what was termed a policy statement during the joint sitting of the parliament, the premier called the American decision of announcing a $10 million bounty for Hafiz Saeed ‘unfortunate’, especially at a time when Islamabad and Washington were trying to repair damaged ties.

“Such negative messages will increase trust deficit at a time when the parliament was engaged in framing new rules of engagement with the US,” the premier told parliamentarians after opposition MPs called this week’s American decision ‘foolish and arrogant’.

The joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate was overshadowed by the new situation emanating from Washington announcement to put a bounty on Saeed and President Asif Zardari’s plan to undertake a private visit to India this weekend.

The unusually prolonged joint parliamentary sitting was being held to approve a parliamentary panel’s report to reset war on terror ties with the US after last year’s airstrikes by NATO helicopters on two Pakistani border posts, killing a couple of dozen soldiers.

Gilani became the highest government official to join a chorus of ‘guarded’ condemnation of the US decision a day after the foreign ministry had already called for Washington to share concrete evidence against a man they believe was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which six American had been killed among 166 people.

The move to seek the arrest of JuD chief came at the time when Pakistani parliament is struggling to cope with public pressure to reopen land routes for NATO troops stations in Afghanistan suspended four months ago.

Gilani said this development had emerged as a ‘negative message’ at a very critical point of time.

“Some positive statement should come from America–a move which may pave the way for both (Pak and US) to rebuild good relations.”

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the house American must have shared the evidence against Saeed instead of taking a unilateral decision to put him under a bounty.

“Pakistan has an independent judiciary…if US has evidence against Saeed then it should come up with them here,” Khar added.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan termed the US move a mind boggling announcement, claiming there was no case or allegations against him (Hafiz Saeed).

“The issue should be debated by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security as well,” he proposed.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman sounded the harshest reaction in the house, calling the bounty ‘foolish and ridiculous’.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Parliamentary Committee on National Security Senator Raza Rabbani hinted that the bounty could be some way for the US to influence either the pace or the : “Washington announcement is ill-timed. Neither the parliament nor the panel will accept any pressure.”

Zardari’s visit to India is a private tour

Reacting to objections raised by opposition MPs, Gilani said Zardari was travelling to India in his private capacity and that his visit was not aimed at seeking any talks with leadership there.

“We are as patriotic as anybody else. We will not do anything against the country’s national interest. Nobody should have doubts about it,” the premier rebuffed opposition demands for an explanation.

The Foreign Minister further confirmed the Prime Minister’s claims saying the president’s visit to India was planned in his personal capacity and it was only out of tradition that Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had invited him for lunch as a goodwill gesture.

Gilani promised the parliament would be taken into confidence if the president discusses something substantial with the Indian prime minister.

Earlier the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) members staged a token walkout against the recently announced increase in prices of petroleum products.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Babloo
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:11AM

    Zardari maybe planning to seek asylum in India , after his term expires :)

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  • Mohammad Safir.
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:19AM

    One more favor to india by calling wanted to Mr Hafiz Saeed sahab,.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:20AM

    US can point any body involved in unethical activities and put a bounty on him or her.

    It seems that US does not have any credible proof against Hafiz Saeed but wants to see him behind the bars on the request of India.

    In view of the newly developed situation, President Zardari should cancel his visit to India, otherwise he will have to face unnecessary embarrassment by the Indian print and electronic media.

    Any statement given by Mr. Zardari in India in any case will put the President in awkward situation. He cannot favour US, nor can favour India and neither to Hafiz Saeed.

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  • Noor Butt
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:58AM

    Hafiz Saeed was wanted by india but failed to produce any proof of his involvement in mombai attacks. However, Pakistan arrested Saeed on charges and evidence what ever India could give to Pakistan. Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed the charges and freed Hafiz Saeed. USA came to know now that Hafiz Saeed is terrorist and his head money should be fixed now. Second, why America is using Americans taxpayers money on a person who was wanted by India.

    Americans taxpayers should ask their government why their money is being wasted on wars which serve the interests of India and Israel, both UNO resolution violators.

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  • liberalpak
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:58AM

    Zia regime created nurseries of hate, extremism, and religious and ethnic intolerance. USA was also big supporter of Zia regime and that’s why USA could also be blamed for supporting wrong cause of Zia. Today whole Pakistan is haunted by either extremism of Taliban or violence by MQM. These two by products of Zia regime are causing havoc to this nation. Now it is also responsibility of USA to help state of Pakistan to fight these extremist, terrorist and intolerant forces.

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  • Zaid
    Apr 6, 2012 - 1:00AM

    Mr Prime Minister, Who are you making fool? US will give us any evidence or will take any permission from us before going for any action against Mr Saeed?

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  • Apr 6, 2012 - 1:24AM

    America mind ur own business

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  • Mirza
    Apr 6, 2012 - 1:24AM

    Send this case to SC and let them do their job. We all know that they are not going to convict any fanatic extremist.

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  • B N Mohapatra
    Apr 6, 2012 - 1:47AM

    We do not expect better statements.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 6, 2012 - 1:53AM

    Does Pakistan have extradition treaty of any form with USA? Why talk about it ? What happened to these rules, when they willingly shipped hundreds of other known terrorists to US custody in past????
    Why then make mockery of the rules of engagement now???
    This BS is not being bought by the major Nations on the planet !
    Wake up ! Time to come clean, and stop being laughing stock on World Stage !!!!

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  • Bhindian
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:18AM

    US has already said they have no evidence, heck they’re paying $10 million for anyone to give them evidence! so retarded.
    @Babloo, why would he seek asylum in a cesspool of a country called India? please try to talk some sense

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  • blithe
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:18AM

    What took Gilani so long to come out with this statement?
    I think he was checking the mood on the streets…

    Or he could have been bamboozoled by that petuland speech Bilawal gave…

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  • MarkH
    Apr 6, 2012 - 2:23AM

    “Neither the parliament nor the panel will accept any pressure.”
    That’s just a lie plain and simple. Or were all the articles and statements regarding the PML-N representatives being scared babies all in my head?

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  • Hammad Mian
    Apr 6, 2012 - 3:24AM

    @B N Mohapatra: We can not produce the statements to please you.Recommend

  • Lone Star
    Apr 6, 2012 - 3:37AM

    I think US is not doing any favor to poor Pakistani people by putting the bounty on his head. This person who is already full of hatred against India and USA will become more popular in Pakistan among semi-literate. Recommend

  • Bombay Dude
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:02AM

    Geelani says ““Some positive statement should come from America–a move which may pave the way for both (Pak and US) to rebuild good relations.””……………..why just America should have positive approach or steps about improving ties with Pakistan ? Shouldn;t this be mutual? …….What positive steps has Pakistan taken in any request by foreign country to rein in terrorists group. every such request comes with same response “Show us proof” . To clean your house you should have the will to find the dirt and clean it and not keep asking people to do investigation for you and while you just drag your feet and hope the news will dwindle away. USA is certainly stupid to put bounty on “information about Hafeez”……even a kid can say that such approach is useless and absurd. Seriously lost it’s credentials here. USA of all should know that in land ruled by mullahs no fanatic will speak anything against Hafeez, so the bounty plan is a serious dud. But if USA certainly has evidence as rumored from what it recovered from OBL’s Pakistani villa proving communication between OBL and Hafeez it should be share. But I can understand USA not been enthusiastic about it. When Pakistani Court cannot even agree to basic idea of providing voice samples to check if Hafiz was one of the handler of mumbai incident how do you expect such a court to make any proof admissible no matter how concrete the proof is. I am sure even a vidoe footage and eye witness are not concrete enough for Pakistani Supreme Court. for Video footage they will say it is doctored and for eye witness they will claim he is bribed or mentally challenged or something wrong with the eyes etc. When the nation has no will at all to punish such barbarians, then nothing can be done in legal way to get justice. The sooner the come to this conclusion the lesser than the chance Hafiz will be next President or Prime Minister of Pakistan.
    By the way all those dumb here who needs proof against Hafiz, try to keep in touch with your countries foreign affair and look what impact this Hafiz is going to create with Pakistan’s foreign relationships. Kiss any progressive future for your generations and next …..bye byee Recommend

  • MarkH
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:03AM

    @Pakistan politics: we are, big boy, we are.

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  • dv sikka
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:07AM

    Foot dragging for how long.

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