ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A Pakistani court on Tuesday ordered the release of a firebrand Islamic cleric with alleged links to the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai last year, sparking an angry rebuke from Indian officials that Pakistan is not committed to meting out justice for militants.
Hafiz Saeed, head of a charity that international organizations have said is tied to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, had been held under house arrest since Dec. 11, though he had not been publicly charged or indicted. Lashkar-e-Taiba has been accused by Indian officials of engineering and carrying out the attacks on Mumbai that killed 166 people in November.
The United Nations regards Saeed’s charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was formed 20 years ago to fight Indian rule in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The court ruling could worsen relations between Pakistan and India, nuclear-armed countries that regard each other as archenemies and have fought three wars in more than a half-century. After the attacks in Mumbai, India accused Pakistan of dragging its feet in tracking down Lashkar-e-Taiba members involved in the rampage on India’s commercial and entertainment capital.