NEW DELHI - Pakistan on Friday said it needs ‘hard evidence’ to put Jamaatud Dawa head Hafiz Saeed in jail. "We can't put him in jail just to please everyone," said Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit.
The envoy was speaking to reporters about the meeting between Indian journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik and Hafiz Saeed, which has sparked a massive controversy in India.
"Our government was not aware of this meeting and nor was the government of India. It was a meeting between two private individuals and nothing more," Basit said.
Asked why he called Hafiz Saeed, the man on top of India's most wanted list, a private citizen, Basit said, "We call him that because there is no hard evidence against him. We can't put him in jail just to please everyone. America may have a bounty but we need hard evidence."
New Delhi accuses Saeed, of plotting a series of terror strikes in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. Mr Vaidik's meeting with Hafiz Saeed left the ruling BJP facing opposition attacks in parliament. The Congress questioned whether the government arranged the meeting. The party alleged that Mr Vaidik is linked to the ruling BJP's ideological RSS. The senior journalist is also close to yoga teacher Ramdev, who had campaigned for the BJP in the national election.
The Pakistani envoy said Mr Vaidik was part of a delegation that went to attend a conference. "He was given visa for that purpose and he stayed back. We are liberal in giving visas," he said.