London, May 13 (IANS) There is insufficient evidence to arrest Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, says Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He also believes that Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is not in Pakistan.
“If you arrest him (Hafiz Saeed), that means he will be released by the courts. For the courts you need more evidence,” telegraph.co.uk quoted Gilani as saying.
“You know the judiciary is completely independent in Pakistan.”
Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including foreigners, were killed by 10 terrorists from Pakistan.
The US last month announced an award of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Adbul Rahman Makki, under the Rewards for Justice programme, for information on the two terrorists.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her three-day trip to India earlier this month, said she had authorised the award for Hafiz Saeed who was responsible for the attack in Mumbai.
“It may take longer than we like but we will stand with you and trying to make that happen,” she had said.
Gilani also said that Egyptian cleric Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became the Al Qaeda chief after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad town May 2 last year, was not in his country.
“Why should I think he (Zawahiri) is in Pakistan?” he asked the Daily Telegraph.
“You have claimed that somebody has said that he is in Pakistan: if there is any information, please share with us,” he was quoted as saying.
“We don’t think so,” said Gilani in London when he was asked for his own view on whether the Al Qaeda chief was in Pakistan.
Clinton had said that Zawahiri was in Pakistan.
“We want to disable Al Qaeda. We believe Zawahiri is in Pakistan.
“You have to go over those who are trying to kill you. You have to be focused on that,” she said May 7 during her India trip.