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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 00:55 GMT
India furious at militant's release
Indian commandos at Delhi parliament following December 2001 attack
Delhi blames the group for attacking India's parliament
India has reacted angrily to the release from house arrest of the founder and former leader of the outlawed Kashmiri militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed was freed from six months detention on the orders of the High Court on Tuesday.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed
Mr Saeed has been under house arrest since October
The court in Lahore ruled that his continued detention was unlawful.

But India says Pakistan is ignoring its international commitments.

A spokesman for India's Foreign Ministry, Navtej Sarna, said the release showed that Pakistan was not interested in tackling terrorism.

"There has hardly been any move to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan," he said.

Lashkar-e-Toiba is blamed for last year's attack on the Indian Parliament which brought the two countries to the brink of war.

"Holy war"

Speaking to reporters Mr Saeed said he would continue to support anti-Indian insurgents in Kashmir.

In remarks unlikely to find favour with the Pakistani authorities, he said every Muslim was obliged to wage holy war in Kashmir, territory which both India and Pakistan dispute.

Mr Saeed was arrested in May, shortly after two attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir which killed more than 30 people, including 25 Indian troops and their families.

He was returned to his home in Lahore at the end of October, but was under house arrest until the High Court intervened.


Pakistani law enforcement agencies... must ensure that those responsible for terrorist crimes are brought to justice

US State Department

"Jihad [holy war] is an article of faith for Muslims," he told reporters, hours after an armed guard had been removed from outside his house.

"How can we remain quiet when the Americans are leading an international campaign of violence against the Muslims?"

The BBC's Shahid Malik in Lahore says Mr Saeed's support for jihad in Kashmir, just after his release, will embarrass the Pakistani Government.

It has promised on a number of occasions to curb militants operating from its territory, and has been a close US ally in the war on terror since the 11 September attacks last year.

Following Mr Saeed's release, the United States told Pakistan it must ensure terror suspects faced justice.

"Pakistani law enforcement agencies, just like law enforcement agencies around the world, must ensure that those responsible for terrorist crimes are brought to justice," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said.

In and out of jail

Lashkar-e-Toiba was banned in Pakistan along with four other militant Islamic groups after the parliament attack in Delhi.

Mr Saeed was detained in January, but released on court orders less than three months later.

Six weeks after that, however, he was back inside when tensions rose again following the attack on the Indian soldiers and their families.

Lashkar-e-Toiba has in the past admitted carrying out militant attacks on Indian targets in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Many observers believe the attacks were carried out in closed liaison with elements from the Pakistani forces, our correspondent says.

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See also:

18 Nov 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
03 Oct 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
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