Hafiz Saeed freed, hits out at Nawaz Sharif as a 'traitor'

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Saeed's release could once again sour USA relations with nuclear-armed Islamabad, which had seen an apparent improvement after the rescue by Pakistan's military of American hostage Caitlan Coleman and her family on October 13. LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens.

"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 Pakistans global reputation", Sanders said in a statement, reflecting the Trump administrations outrage at Saeeds release.

The US treasury department had designated Saeed as a specially-designated global terrorist under executive order 13224 in 2008. Saeed allegedly devised the plot in which coordinated gunfire and bombing attacks in Mumbai killed at least 166 people, including American citizens, in 2008. LeT and several of its front organizations, leaders, and operatives remain under both State Department and Treasury Department sanctions.

The US, since 2012, had announced $ 10 million for information that brings Saeed to justice. "It is because of Kashmir that India has been after me".

"Such statements have been made repeatedly in the past and each time they have received an appropriate and resounding response on the ground from the people as well as law enforcement agencies", said the official without elaborating. "And we will try to help Kashmiris get their destination of freedom". He said Pakistan had wiped out militant hideouts with little help from the USA, which has restricted hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Pakistan in recent years.

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"I was detained for 10 months only to stop my voice for Kashmir", he said. A Lahore court this week ordered his release, rejecting the Pakistani government's arguments that he was a threat to public safety.

"I'm happy that no allegation against me was proved, which could have done damage to me, or my country's interests", Saeed later told supporters.

In an interview with the BBC, Saeed said the court's decision was proof of his innocence with regard to the Mumbai attacks. "Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see", MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi on Thursday.

The US has strongly condemned Pakistan's release of the alleged militant accused of masterminding the 2008 attack on Mumbai - saying it sends a deeply troubling message about its commitment to fighting terrorism. "India, as indeed the entire worldwide community, is outraged that a self-confessed and United Nations proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue with his evil agenda", foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had saidon Thursday.