Islamabad: The US on Monday night announced a bounty of $10 million on Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed. While the move was welcomed by India, the JuD chief hit back at the US saying he was not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding him.
The LeT founder was quoted as saying by Al-Jazeera news channel that the US was frustrated as he was protesting against the resumption of NATO supplies and Drone attacks.
Saeed said, "We are not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding us. I think the US is frustrated because we are taking out countrywide protests against the resumption of NATO supplies and drone strikes."
"I believe either the US has very little knowledge and is basing its decisions on wrong information being provided by India or they are just frustrated," he added.
Saeed claimed the US move was prompted by the fact that he had been organising rallies against the reopening of NATO supply lines through Pakistan, which were closed after a cross-border attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that the development showed that the US had recognised that Saeed and his organisation were involved in terror activity.
He further expressed hope that the move would also urge Pakistan to now act against the 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Chidambaram said that India could share information regarding Saeed with the US, adding that there was enough evidence against Saeed to detain and interrogate him, alleging that Pakistan was not doing its duty.
"Pakistan is avoiding giving voice sample of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed as asked by India," said Chidambaram.
The Home Minister further said, "We have shared dossier with Pakistan with all the evidence we have, on his hate speech against India in Pakistan and other things."
Chidambaram also said that India would put pressure on Pakistan to take action against Saeed.
The Pakistan government has, however, maintained that they are yet to receive any official communication from the US on the bounty.
"I have learnt from the media that a bounty has been offered for his head. Basically, we have not received any official communication from the US or from any other quarter," Malik told a TV news channel on Tuesday evening.
He said he had requested the Foreign Ministry to verify the report about the US bounty.
"Till there is verification, there is nothing that I can say officially," he said in response to a question on whether the government intended to act against Saeed after the announcement of the bounty under the US Rewards for Justice programme.
Malik said he could not comment on the basis of media reports.
"Let's see if it is confirmed, then we can ask them (the US) why this bounty was offered," he said.
The procedure in such matters is for information to be sent through "diplomatic channels or through the Interpol", Malik said.
"We have not seen any communication through official channels (or) diplomatic channels. So I will still insist that we should wait for the official communication," he added.
Malik's remarks were the first official reaction to the bounty offered for Saeed, who now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.
Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was included by the US among the five most wanted terrorist leaders.
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)