Pakistan’s Most Wanted

The Independent’s Robert Fisk has become the first Western journalist to interview Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, the man thought to have masterminded the Mumbai massacre.

"As Pakistani ministers and the country's army chiefs lobbied the Obama administration in Washington this week for increased military funding for the fight against Al Qa'ida militants, the top man on the US, UN and EU most wanted list in Pakistan moved freely in the streets of Lahore. In his first interview with a western newspaper, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed – suspected of organising the slaughter of 166 Indians in Mumbai in November 2008 – denied responsibility for the bloodbath and told The Independent that he had won his court battles to remain a free man. Saeed, bearded, bespectacled and claiming to have no links with Lashkar-e-Taiba – the ‘Army of the Righteous’, which is blamed by the Indians and Americans for the Mumbai killings – is guarded in Lahore by two Pakistani policemen. He said he believed in the Lashkar group's ‘fight for freedom’ in Kashmir, adding that US and Nato troops ‘must leave’ Afghanistan. He blamed ‘Indian propaganda’ for the accusations against him – a claim unlikely to move his enemies in the US, India and other nations – and said that he condemned the Mumbai killings. Saeed said he runs a well-funded charity called the ‘Group of Preaching’ which rescued more than a hundred victims of the Kashmir earthquake."

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