London- Hafiz Saeed, the founder of a self-declared Pakistani charity who India and the US accuse of masterminding the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, has dismissed new American sanctions on his organization.
Saeed, in an interview with the BBC, said the US is targeting Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) to win India's help in Afghanistan. The US alleges the JuD is a front for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and has offered a $10 million reward for the arrest of Saeed, who is accused of being a leader of both the groups.
Saeed told the BBC's South Asia correspondent Andrew North that America's ban on JuD was "dictated" by India. "America always takes decisions based on Indian dictation. Now it's imposing this new ban because it needs India's help in Afghanistan. I had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks and Pakistan's courts said all India's evidence against me was just propaganda?" Saeed told the BBC in Lahore.
He claimed the $10 million price on his head doesn't worry him. "The people of Pakistan know me, and they love me. No one has tried to approach the American authorities to get this bounty. My role is very clear here, and God is protecting me"
The BBC asked him if he was an obstacle to better India-Pakistan relations. "India makes me an issue to divert attention from Kashmir, which is the real issue. Kashmir should be free and India must withdraw its hundreds of thousands of troops who are occupying the territory and give Kashmiris the right to decide their future.  We are not the obstacle to better relations," he replied.