Islamabad: A combative Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief,on Wednesday dared the US to carry out a military raid against him like the one that killed Osama bin Laden, saying he was not hiding and would inform the Americans himself about his whereabouts. (Agencies)
Saeed made the remarks while addressing a news conference with other leaders of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) at Flashman Hotel in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, located a short distance from the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters.
This is his first press conference after American administration offered a reward of 10 million dollars for him on Monday. He even taunted the US to give him the bounty offered for him under the Rewards for Justice programme, saying he would inform American authorities about his whereabouts.
"I am not hiding in caves and mountains, I am here in Rawalpindi," he said.
Saeed offered to make public his itinerary for the next few days, saying he intended to travel to Narowal in Punjab later in the day and then go to Lahore on Thursday. He even claimed that if the US gave him the bounty, he would use the money in the impoverished province of Balochistan and account for its expenditure.
Reiterating his claim that the JuD and its workers had no links to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he contended that there was no evidence against him. He dismissed allegations about his involvement in terrorism as "Indian claims that are part of media propaganda".
Saeed further claimed that Pakistan's Supreme Court had upheld an order of the Lahore High Court that "cleared him and his organisation" after the Interior Minister had approached the Apex Court.
"The JuD is a relief organisation working across Pakistan and there are no restrictions on it," he said. "It is unfortunate that the US does not accept Pakistani courts. It is not even ready to accept Pakistan. The US is today bowing before India and speaking its language," he said.
Saeed pledged to continue the DPC's movement to prevent the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, claiming such a move would allow the US and India to increase their "interference" in Pakistan.
"The US has become blind due to its hatred for Islam... My death will be decided by Allah and not the US," he said. Saeed said no one from the government had contacted him regarding the US bounty though it was the duty of the administration to look after all Pakistani citizens.
DPC chief Sami-ul-Haq said the Foreign Ministry's silence on the US bounty for Saeed was deplorable. Haq, often described as the "father of the Afghan Taliban", said the DPC would continue its protests against the US and not give in to any pressure.
The US State Department has included Saeed, also the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, among the five most wanted terrorists. Saeed's case is unusual as he is not in hiding, unlike the other wanted men, including Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar.
After the news of the US bounty broke in Pakistan, Saeed appeared on talk shows on most of the leading Pakistani news channels on Tuesday night.
Islamabad: A combative Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief,on Wednesday dared the US to carry out a military raid against him like the one that killed Osama bin Laden, saying he was not hiding and would inform the Americans himself about his whereabouts.