ISLAMABAD -UNS : A newly freed Pakistani Islamist accused of masterminding a bloody 2008 assault in the Indian city of Mumbai called ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a “traitor” on Friday for seeking peace with neighbor and arch-foe India.
Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head as India alleges he had a hand in the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including Americans, spoke at Friday prayers after being freed from house arrest by a court that said there was no evidence to hold him.
Saeed was placed under house arrest in January while Sharif was still prime minister, a move that drew praise from India, long furious at Saeed’s continued freedom in Pakistan.
In July, a Supreme Court ruling disqualified Sharif from office over a corruption investigation, though his party still runs the government with a close ally as prime minister.
Saeed, however, said Sharif deserved to be removed for his peace overtures with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted? I tell him he was ousted, because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with Modi, killers of thousands of Muslims,” Saeed said.
Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai violence in which 10 gunmen attacked targets in India’s largest city, including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a railway station.
The assault brought nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India to the brink of war.
“I’m happy that no allegation against me was proved,” Saeed told supporters after his release in the city of Lahore, according to a video released by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Islamist charity, which he heads.
Pakistan officially banned the Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002.