Hafiz Saeed issue was strongly raised with Pakistan: India

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Surprised over Islamabad’s statement that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed did not figure in the Feb 25 foreign secretary-level talks, India Sunday said the ‘unhindered freedom’ the terrorist chief enjoys in Pakistan was ‘strongly’ raised during the parleys held here.

‘India has been demanding action against Saeed, one of the alleged masterminds of the Mumbai terrorist attack, since the barbaric and dastardly attack took place (on Nov 26, 2008),’ the official spokesperson of the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

The statement came in response to media reports quoting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that India has not demanded the arrest of Hafiz Saeed and that the issue did not even figure in the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan.

Expressing ‘surprise’, the spokesperson said: ‘A dossier containing a compilation of evidence on the involvement of Hafiz Saeed in the terrorist attack was handed over to Pakistan on Aug 21, 2009, and his name featured prominently in yet another dossier handed over to the Pakistan foreign secretary (Salman Bashir) during the talks Feb 25, 2010.’

‘Saeed’s activities, including his recent vitriolic and venomous statements aimed at fomenting further acts of terrorism against India and the unhindered public space and freedom he enjoys in Pakistan, were raised strongly by India during the foreign secretary-level talks,’ the spokesperson said.

Qureshi Saturday claimed that India never demanded the arrest of the Saeed, who now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a frontal charity organisation of the Lashkar.

He said Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao never discussed the Saeed issue at the talks with her Pakistani counterpart.

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