Indian Foreign Secretary Menon expressed dismay about the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed to Charge Burleigh on June 2, noting that the Government of India's plan to provide wheat shipments to aid internally displaced people in the SWAT Valley was now threatened.
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, PK, IN SUBJECT: INDIA REACTS VOCIFEROUSLY TO RELEASE OF LET LEADERS; HOPES TO PROCEED WITH TRILATERAL MUMBAI INVESTIGATOR'S MEETING IN U.S.
Classified By: Charge d'Affairs Peter Burleigh Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (C) Summary: Indian Foreign Secretary Menon expressed dismay about the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed to Charge Burleigh on June 2, noting that the Government of India's plan to provide wheat shipments to aid internally displaced people in the SWAT Valley was now threatened. The Ministry of External Affairs immediately issued a press release documenting Hafiz Saeed's listing under UNSC Resolution 1267, noting ""His release raises serious doubts over Pakistan's sincerity in acting with determination against terrorist groups and individuals operating from its terrority."" The Indian press has quoted sources claimed to be from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry as blaming India for Saeed's release, citing the inability of Pakistani law enforcement to visit the scene of the Mumbai attacks and a lack of evidence requested from India.
2. (S) Saeed's release will fan suspicions in India about Pakistan's willingness to crack down on India-targeted attacks and the sincerity of the Mumbai investigation. Progress in reinvigorating bilateral talks at a political level anytime soon will nearly certainly be put on hold. Director level officials in the Intelligence Bureau told LegAtt on June 2 that they nevertheless hope to continue with the scheduled July 6 trilateral meetings at the investigator level in Washington. The Embassy Emergency Action Committee met to discuss developments, as reported Septel. End Summary.
Saeed was not charged in Mumbai Attacks, but Known as JuD/LeT Leader
3. (U) According to press reports, Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa JuD) was released from house arrest on June 2 when the Lahore High Court ruled that his detention was illegal. Although Saeed is known as the ideological leader of LeT, he was not being held on charges related to the Mumbai attack, but rather under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance. After the United Nations declared JuD a front for Lashkar-e-Tayibba and added it to the list of organizations with links to al-Quaeda and the Taliban, Saeed and three associates were held under the MPO which allows for detention up to 90 days. Pakistan security continued to hold Saeed and Ahmed citing the UNSC resolution and their affiliation with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. According to press reports, the High Court ruled that the GoP is not bound by UN resolutions and therefore Saeed's detention was unconstitutional.
GOI questions GOP sincerity
4. (C) In a June 2 meeting with Charge, Menon noted the GOI's disappointment with Saeed's release. Menon had received the go-ahead to offer Pakistan donated wheat to feed displaced persons who had fled fighting in the Swat Valley. However, Menon noted, the release of Saeed had made it much more difficult to proceed with the offer. In response to questions from the press about the release, Minster of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram said that India is unhappy that Pakistan is not showing the degree of seriousness it should be to bring the suspects behind the Mumbai attacks to justice. This same sentiment was expressed by Indian Minister of External spokesperson Vishnu Prakash during a press conference advising Pakistan's actions raises questions about the sincerity of investigations into the plan, launch and attack by those individuals and that the GOP has yet to report the progress into the investigations.
India Responds to Pakistan's investigation efforts
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5. (S) In meetings with LegAtt on June 2, Indian Joint Directors of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) reiterated that they hope to meet with their Pakistani counterpart investigators at a trilateral meeting in the U.S. on July 6. These Indian officials believe the FIA is trying to do the right thing, but predict they will be stopped by other elements in the Pakistani government if they get close to achieving successful prosecutions. The Indian officials stressed again that Pakistan has shared no information with India, and pointed out that not even the FBI has been able to gain access to the detainees in Pakistan. (The FBI has had extensive access to the detainee in India, Ajmal Kasab.) Reported claims by Pakistani officials that Saeed's release was due to a lack of cooperation from India will rankle even more in this context.
6. (U) Press reporting on Saeed's release mentions that other individuals were released, as well, but accounts are inconsistent as to their identities. We do not have information that Lakhvi, Zarrar Shah and al Qama, the individuals specifically charged in Pakistan with the Mumbai attack, have been released.
7. (C) The release of Hafiz Saeed will no doubt reinforce calls by the Indian government and public for the international community to step up pressure on the GOP to stop harboring terrorists who jeopardize regional security.