US contradicts Pakistan over bounty on Hafiz Saeed

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Saeed
Washington, Apr 4: The US has made it clear that a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed was primarily due to his key role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and said it wants to bring to book the Lashkar- e-Taiba (LeT) founder who has been brazenly flouting the justice system.

"It (bounty) has everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen flouting of the justice system," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"It (bounty) is because we want to see him brought to justice," she asserted, and referred to the fact that Saeed has been charged in India.

She rejected Saeed's remarks that the US announced the bounty on his head because he is opposing the reopening of the crucial NATO supply route to Afghanistan, which was shut down by Pakistan in November when 24 of its soldiers were killed in a NATO cross border fire.

Nuland also refuted the Pakistani claims that they have not been informed about it.

"We have been in communication with Pakistan on this issue," she said at her daily news conference yesterday.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik had claimed that his country had not received any "official communication" from the US about the USD 10 million bounty offered for Saeed.

Nuland said the bounty on Saeed was approved by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself after all the necessary process was completed spread over past several months.

"This effort to arrange rewards for trust bounty for Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and also for Abdul Rehman Makki has been in the works for quite a number of months. These things are somewhat complicated to work through all of the details. So the announcements were only able to be posted when the process was complete, but we've been working on this for some time," the spokesperson underlined.

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