Hafiz Saeed walks free, says he's fighting for freedom of Pakistan, Kashmir

US calls on Pakistan to arrest recently freed Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed

The United States on Friday expressed deep concerns over the release of banned Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan.

The authorities in Lahore on the midnight freed Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest as Home department decided not to file any other case against him.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder had been under house arrest since January.

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes", Nauert added. It is the third time that the cleric has been released by courts after Islamabad briefly detained him twice in the aftermath of the attacks in November 2008.

In 2012, the United States placed a $10m bounty on his head for his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan's refusal to take action against Saeed has been one the biggest stress points of its relationship with India. It also runs a network of seminaries, and releases several periodical publications.

Pakistan and India both claim all - but control only a portion of - Kashmir, which occupies the southern foothills and slopes of the Himalayan mountains.




"Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been punished for forsaking Kashmiris".

Sharif's PML-N party remains in government, and he was succeeded by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a party loyalist, in August.

"Peace can not be established in Pakistan if terrorists such as Kulbashan Jadhav continue to enter the country", Saeed said, referring to the Indian spy who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and terrorism.

"India has always leveled allegations of terrorism...but (Lahore) High Court decision has proved that all of India's propaganda are false", Saeed said.

The MEA spokesperson had also said, "It is evident that Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non state actors, and its true face is visible for all to see".

His social media spokesman announced in a tweet that Hafiz Saeed is a free man. "I tell him he was ousted because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi", he said, warning the PML (N) government not to "take dictation from the U.S. and other countries and take its own decisions". While maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir will always remain an integral part of India, a senior MHA official said India's security forces had given an "appropriate response" to such comments by subversive elements. The two countries have fought three wars over Kashmir since 1947, when they became separate nations through the partition of the Indian subcontinent with the end of British colonial rule.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera's Web Correspondent in Pakistan.

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