China says report on President Xi asking Pak to relocate LeT chief Saeed shocking, baseless
Beijing, May 24 : China today dismissed as “shocking” and “baseless” a media report that President Xi Jinping has asked Pakistan to relocate JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to a West Asian country, amid mounting international pressure on Islamabad to act against him.
According to the report, a close aide of the prime minister of Pakistan said that Xi made the suggestion to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during their meeting on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in China last month.
“At a 35-minute meeting, at least 10 minutes of the discussion dealt with Saeed. The Chinese President was keen on pressing the Prime Minister to find an early solution to keep Saeed away from the limelight,” an unnamed close aide of Abbasi was quoted as saying.
Reacting to it, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s office said today the report was “shocking and baseless”.
“It is shocking and baseless that’s all we can say,” the official from the spokesperson’s office said here, declining to comment further on the report.
Considering the close relations enjoyed between China and Pakistan, there is sense of disquiet here over the report in the backdrop of the current tussle between the Pakistan government headed by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the powerful military.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been disqualified to hold public office for life by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, admitted Pakistan’s involvement in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Without naming Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s militant organisations operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said: “Militant organisations are active in Pakistan.”
“Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill over 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial,” he said in an interview to Dawn newspaper, which created furore in Pakistan.
Saeed carries a USD 10 million American bounty for his role in terror activities. He is the blamed by India s being the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including six US nationals, were killed.
While Saeed has been declared a “global terrorist” by the United Nations after the Mumbai attacks, China has put repeated technical holds on India, US, UK and France’s efforts in the UN to list Azhar as a terrorist for his involvement in the Pathankot attack.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since and the US, since 2012.