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Obama administration 'disturbed' by Saeed's release, says Holbrooke

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
June 03, 2009 15:50 IST
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The Obama administration is "disturbed" by the release of Jamaat-ud-Daawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who was placed under house arrest nearly six months ago in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke said on Wednesday. Holbrooke, the special American envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, expressed reservations over the release of Saeed. "His release has disturbed us all," he told Geo News channel. The Lahore High Court on Tuesday accepted Saeed's petition challenging his detention in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and ordered his immediate release.

Saeed and numerous other top JuD leaders were detained in December last year after the UN Security Council designated his group as a front organistaion for the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba, which is blamed for the Mumbai attacks. India expressed disappointment at Saeed's release, saying the move raised "serious doubts over Pakistan's sincerity in acting with determination against terrorist groups and individuals operating from its territory." Pakistan described India's reaction as "misplaced" and said it had demonstrated "full sincerity and commitment" in the probe into the Mumbai attacks.

Holbrooke, who is scheduled to visit refugee camps in Pakistan, also referred to the ongoing military operations against the Taliban in the Swat valley, saying Pakistan had done "what it should" and the US had provided the Pakistan army with equipment for its campaign.
The equipment included night vision devices and four helicopters, he said.

The militants in Buner and other parts of Malakand division want to spoil the Pakistan founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the US will not leave Pakistan alone at this critical juncture, Holbrooke said. Islamic countries should now come forward to help the people displaced by the military operations, he said. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference should help them, he added. Holbrooke also said the heads of the ruling Pakistan People's Party and main opposition PML-N had agreed to scrap the President's sweeping powers under the 17th constitutional amendment. There is no difference of opinion between PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PPP leader and President Asif Ali Zardari on this issue, he said.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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