New Delhi, Apr 3: The US has announced a USD 10 million bounty on Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, a move welcomed today by India, which said it sends a strong signal to LeT and its “patrons” that the international community remains united in combating terrorism.
Late last night, the US Government announced an award of up to USD 10 million for information leading to arrest and conviction of Saeed and up to USD two million for Hafiz Adbul Rahman Makki, his jihar financier brother-in-law under the Rewards for Justice programme, for information on the two terrorists, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
“India welcomes the notification under the Rewards for Justice Programme. It reflects the commitment of India and the United States to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice and continuing efforts to combat terrorism.
“It also sends a strong signal to LeT as also its members and patrons that the international community remains united in combating terrorism,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters.
He also said Saeed, the brain behind the terror attack on Mumbai, was “safely tucked away” somewhere in Pakistan.
The US maintains both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat ul Dawa as foreign terrorist organisations and has also individually designated Saeed and Makki for terrorist activities under its law.
Sixty-one-year-old Saeed has become one of only four terrorist leaders for whom the US has offered a bounty of USD 10 million, joining the likes of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
The only person with a higher bounty on his head than these four terrorist leaders is Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, for whom the US has put a reward of USD 25 million.
Krishna said in recent years, India and the US have deepened mutual understanding on the nature of terrorism challenges emanating from India's neighbourhood.
“US which keeps a tab on all these terrorists around the world, would have kept a tab on Saeed.....I have always been insisting that he was the brain behind the terror attack on Mumbai.
These terrorists and conspirators cannot be spared and they will have to be brought to justice and that is what we have been demanding from Pakistan,” he said.
India and the US agree that all terrorist organisations, including LeT, should be defeated and have called for elimination of terrorist safe havens and infrastructure inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, a statement by the MEA said.
It also said that yesterday, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman conveyed to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Washington's intention to take additional steps to deal with terrorists like Saeed and Makki to which Mathai expressed New Delhi's sincere appreciation.
The two countries have strengthened their counter-terrorism cooperation through the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism, Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative, the Homeland Security Dialogue and regular exchanges between intelligence and law enforcement agencies, MEA said.