> India calls him a terrorist mastermind. The United States has a $10 million bounty on his head, but Hafiz Saeed is walking free from house arrest in Pakistan. The notorious Islamist is accused of organizing the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. He's been under house arrest since January, but a court on Wednesday ruled against a government request to extend his confinement.
Reuters' Saad Sayeed in Islamabad explains why.>> Saeed was not tried for his role in the Mumbai attacks, no evidence was brought before the court, nor would Pakistan really want that to be brought to the court at this point. Especially after nine years that they finally are going to come to court and say hey, we've got this guy and he's been roaming around in Pakistan for nine years.
That would look really bad for Pakistan. There's also murmurs that Saeed has been released in response to President Trump's Afghan policy, which took a very hard line stance on Pakistan, and Pakistan did not respond very well to that. There are murmurs that Pakistan is saying, if you're going to have such a hard line stance on Pakistan, we're not going to really crack down on the people or the groups that you feel are a problem.
>> Not only is Saeed set to walk free, but he may be headed straight for politics. He controls the Milli Muslim League, a brand new political party launched by an Islamist charity that the US accuses of being nothing more than a front for terrorism. So far the MML hasn't won any big victories, but it has the support of the country's powerful military.
Top brass have been pushing a plan to bring extremists into the mainstream, in the hope that they'll reduce militant activity. Saeed insists that he was not involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks when ten gunmen went on a three day killing spree at luxury hotels, a train station, and a Jewish Center, bringing the nuclear armed neighbors to the brink of war.