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Pakistan wants U.S. proof of extremist’s guilt

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pakistan wants "concrete evidence" against an extremist leader who taunted the U.S. at a press conference outside Islamabad on Wednesday, one day after the State Department placed a $10 million bounty on his head.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who founded the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been accused of planning the 2008 attacks Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six American citizens.

The State Department on Tuesday announced a $10 million reward for information that would lead to Mr. Saeed's arrest. It also offered a $2 million bounty on Mr. Saeed's brother in law and Lashkar-e-Taiba's deputy leader, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki.

"I am here, I am visible. America should give that reward money to me," Mr. Saeed told reporters in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report.

"I will be in Lahore tomorrow. America can contact me whenever it wants to," he added.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani official said his government would like "concrete evidence" against Mr. Saeed and Mr. Makki.

"Pakistan would prefer to receive concrete evidence to proceed legally rather than to be engaging in a public discussion on this issue," said Abdul Basit, a spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Office, in a statement provided to The Washington Times.

Mr. Basit said that in a democratic country like Pakistan, where the judiciary is independent, evidence against anyone must withstand judicial scrutiny.

The U.S. has designated Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist group. The group re-emerged under the banner of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity that is widely acknowledged to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Mr. Saeed, who heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa, lives in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore and travels freely around the country.

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