US strongly condemns Hafiz Saeed's release, warns Pak of repercussions
The White House said on Saturday lashed out at Pakistan by saying that there will be "repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation" unless Islamabad took action to detain and charge a freed Islamist militant accused of masterminding a 2008 assault in Mumbai.
"(Hafiz) Saeed's release, after Pakistan's failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan's commitment to (combating) international terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil," the White House said in a statement.
"If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation," it added.
Hafiz Saeed, who has been designated a terrorist by the US Justice Department and has a $10 million bounty on his head, was released before dawn after the court this week ended his detention in the eastern city of Lahore.
Saeed ran the Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization, widely believed to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, which India believes was behind the deadly attack in Mumbai.
India expressed "outrage", saying Pakistan has exposed its true face by attempting to "mainstream" UN-proscribed terrorists.
Top US counter-terrorism and South Asian experts also expressed anger at the banned Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) chief's imminent release that has come as a setback to India's efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 attacks in which 166 people had been killed.