Full marks to Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar who has responded firmly while rejecting US demand for arresting Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki. She took strong exception to US announcement of fixing $10 million as a reward for Hafiz Saeed, asking Washington to respect Pakistan’s red lines regarding territorial sovereignty and integrity. She categorically stated that Hafiz Saeed and Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki were neither involved in any crime against the US nor had there been any proof of their involvement in Mumbai attacks. Hina Rabbani did not mince her words while saying that it appeared the US Administration had made the move only to appease India. One hopes this firmness persists and the Americans realise their every wish is not our command.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the US State Department came out with a strange statement saying that it was unfortunate that Hafiz Saeed was roaming around freely and that Washington was keen to see him behind bars. He asked the Pakistan government to put him on trial. The head money, later clarified as reward for information, cannot be put on any individual who is not in hiding or has not committed a crime. By doing so, the US has made itself a laughing stock. Therefore, it was not surprising to know Hafiz Saeed’s reaction. He said that instead of fixing bounty money, US should pay this amount to him and in return he would regularly keep them informed about his movement. Daringly, he said he was ready to face trial in any American court or wherever there is proof against him.

It may be interesting to note that for over a month, Hafiz Saeed has addressed half a dozen huge rallies demanding total blockade of Nato supplies and threatening that if they were resumed, members of his Difah-e-Pakistan Council would block their movement physically. Opposition parties including Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf have also expressed resentment against supplies to Nato and Isaf forces stationed in Afghanistan to pass through. Without doubt, it is going to be a test of the Pakistan government if it could withstand the pressure being exerted on it by the United States to take action against two persons with Pakistani nationality, who have committed no crime against the US. It will also be interesting to note how Hafiz Saeed's DPC evolves in light of this development.