Islamabad: Reacting to announcement of USD 10 million bounty offered by US for Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has made it clear that it is an "internal issue" and if there is any concrete proof against the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief then it should be provided to Pakistan.

'Increasing trust deficit'

Gilani also warned that at a time when Pakistan's Parliament is framing new rules of engagement for the US, such "negative messages would increase the trust deficit".
   
He made the remarks on Thursday while responding to points raised by lawmakers during a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate about the USD 10 million bounty offered by US for Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder. He said this was an internal issue of Pakistan and "if there is any concrete proof against Saeed then it should be provided to Pakistan, which has an independent judiciary".

Cases dismissed in past

The Prime Minister pointed out that cases against Saeed were dismissed in the past due to lack of evidence. Gilani told lawmakers that he had taken up the issue of the bounty with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides during a meeting on Wednesday.
   
The Prime Minister said he had informed Nides that at a time when Pakistan's parliament is framing new rules of engagement for the US, such "negative messages would increase the trust deficit".
   
Gilani further said he had telephoned main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and taken him into confidence on the government's position on the issue of the bounty. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the joint session of Parliament that she too had discussed the issue of the bounty with Nides.
   
She said she had told the American delegation that Saeed was a Pakistani citizen and the US should have informed Pakistan before taking such a decision.

(JPN/Agencies)