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In Pakistan, US Bounty for Cleric Sparks Protests

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, right, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawwa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, addresses a news conference with anti-American cleric Sami ul Haq in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, April 4, 2012.
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, right, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawwa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, addresses a news conference with anti-American cleric Sami ul Haq in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, April 4, 2012.
Brian Padden

Protesters across Pakistan rallied in the streets Friday to condemn the United States' $10 million bounty for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Saeed founded Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which allegedly plotted the 2008 terrorist attack in India's financial hub, Mumbai. The siege killed 166 people, including six Americans. The U.S. officials announced the $10 million reward earlier this week.

Hundreds of Islamist activists demonstrated in the capital, Islamabad, and the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday.

Members of the Defense Council of Pakistan, an alliance of right-wing, religious and extremist groups, also protested in the cities of Lahore and Muzaffarabad, chanting anti-U.S. slogans and support for Saeed.

"The USA has done an unconstitutional and unlawful act," said Molana Shaikh Yaqoob, Central leader Defense Council of Pakistan. "If they have some evidence or proof against Hafiz Saeed, even then they should have adopted the law."

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday criticized the U.S. decision to place a bounty on Saeed. The cleric operates openly in Pakistan, appearing on talk shows and addressing public rallies in which he criticizes the United States.

Gilani said the U.S. should have informed Pakistan before taking such a move because there is no solid evidence against Saeed, adding that such negative messages would only widen the trust deficit between both nations.

Pakistan's parliament is currently debating a new framework for ties with the United States, following the mistaken killing of 24 Pakistani troops in a cross-border NATO strike last November.

In recent months, Saeed has used his high-profile status among right-wing groups in Pakistan to help lead a protest movement against Pakistan reopening its ground route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities closed the border crossings following the coalition strike that killed Pakistani troops late last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Belal
April 09, 2012 8:49 AM
one thing worries us all the most, why people of this 21st century cannot realize the devil and two faced policy of Pakistan?

by: Belal
April 09, 2012 7:15 AM
one thing worries us all the most, why people of this 21st century cannot realize the devil and two faced policy of Pakistan?

by: Karim
April 07, 2012 7:49 AM
it is a very good news to hear about terrorsts exposed to the world in Pakistan by passing every single day. a day will come to say Pakistan army chief and inteligent chief are both terrorests.
thanks god
Pakistan is exposed as terrorst country to the world (dont worry, it is coming.)

by: Jonathan Huang
April 06, 2012 9:59 PM
US is becoming the common enemy of the world. Soon China will lead the anti-US movement.

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