Late Monday, the United States State Department’s Rewards for Justice program posted on its website a bounty of $10 million for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (photo). Saeed is wanted primarily for his alleged role in bombings in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, when explosions blasted through two hotels, a train station, and a Jewish Chabad house. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 166 people in South Mumbai.
Ten million dollars is nearly the highest reward offered by the State Department for a suspected terrorist. In fact, the sum awarded for Saeed is second only to that offered for Ayman al-Zawahri, the man believed to have taken over control of al-Qaeda following the killing of Osama bin Laden last May. Al-Zawahri’s bounty is set at $25 million.
The placing of a reward on Saeed is seen as yet another move by the American government that will place further strain on the already tense relationship with Pakistan, the U.S.‘s erstwhile ally in the “War on Terror.” Major news outlets reporting on the State Department’s announcement of the bounty on Saeed chronicle the Pakistani native’s criminal background. Most accounts, for example, are similar to this one published by USA Today:
Hafiz Saeed founded Lashkar-e-Taiba in the 1980s, allegedly with Pakistani support to pressure archenemy India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Pakistan banned the group in 2002 under pressure from the U.S. but has done little to crack down on its activities.
Saeed operates openly in the country, giving public speeches and appearing on TV talk shows. The U.S. also offered up to $2 million for Lashkar-e-Taiba's deputy leader, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki.
Click here to read the entire article.