Washington had urged Pakistan to re-arrest Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed and charge him with the crimes he was accused of committing including the attacks in Mumbai. Hafiz Saeed was released early morning on Friday after a three-judge panel in Lahore High Court ended his detention in Lahore after receiving instructions behind closed doors from high up in the Pakistani Army and ISI. Pakistan released him immediately after the US Congress delinked the conditional aid to Pakistan in Pakistan was to take action on both Haqqani network and Hafiz Saeed. Pakistan is eager to get the aid of $350 million to be credited at the earliest to finance its procurement of spares for its war machines. These funds could not be released to the Pakistani Government because the defence secretary James Mattis could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network and LeT as per the requirement in the FY 2016 NDAA.

On Ground

Meanwhile, Saeed’s spokesman Yahya Mujahid hailed it as a “victory of truth.” A day after walking free addressing a sermon at Lahore’s Jamia Masjid Al Qadsia, Saeed said he was “fighting for the freedom of Pakistan and Kashmir.”

The move has clearly outraged both US and Indian authorities.

US Reaction

Expressing concern over the release of Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) leader Hafiz Saeed, The White House has called it a “step in the wrong direction” and said a refusal to re-arrest him would damage bilateral ties with Pakistan and that Pakistan’s credibility and reputation around the world are at stake.

In a statement on Saturday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders in strong words said the US “strongly condemns” the release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest. Urging his “immediate re-arrest and prosecution” Sanders said, “Saeed’s release, after Pakistan’s failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a deeply troubling message about Pakistan’s commitment to combating international terrorism and belies Pakistani claims that it will not provide sanctuary for terrorists on its soil. If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s credibility and global reputation”.

Indian Reaction

“India is outraged that a self-confessed and a UN proscribed terrorist is allowed to walk free and continue with his agenda,” Raveesh Kumar, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters at a weekly briefing in New Delhi. The Indians say that the delinking LeT from the Haqqani group gave Pakistan the room to meet the more urgent American demand of throwing the Haqqani’s under the bus while protecting its more immediate, valuable and lucrative Kashmir Issue. As per them Kashmir issue not only constitutes bread and butter of the Pakistani military’s but also entire Pakistan and allows Pakistani Army it to put its hand in the national treasury and budget at will.

In a way, the US had abandoned Indian concerns by protecting its forces in Afghanistan and rightly so delinked LeT from their agenda. At present, the US again has given in to its bad politics in not identifying the real cause and playing into the hands of few who believe that terror not affecting them is not a terror. Truly in international politics, there are no permanent friends only permanent interests.