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Feb 08, 2013 at 09:14am IST

26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed brags about freedom, says his fate is in the hands of god

New Delhi: 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed says he roams freely as his fate is in the hands of god and not America, in an interview to the New York Times. Saeed one of India's most wanted terrorists and a key accused in the 26/11 attacks has claimed that he is free to move around Pakistan as an ordinary person.

Saeed also bragged that he is free despite a 10 million dollar bounty on his head. "I move about like an ordinary person, that's my style," he said in the interview. 64-year-old Saeed's compound in Lahore is a "fortified house, office and mosque". The New York Times report said Saeed is shielded not only by his supporters who wield "Kalashnikovs" outside his door but also by the Pakistani state.

Saeed, who has been addressing large public meetings and made prime-time television appearances, said he is now talking to Western news media outlets to correct "misperceptions". The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief claimed his name had been cleared by the Pakistani courts. "Why does the US not respect our judicial system?" Saeed said, adding that he has nothing against Americans.

I move about like an ordinary person in Pak: Saeed

LeT chief Hafiz Saeed also bragged that he is free despite a 10 million dollar bounty on his head.

He recalled a visit he made to the US in 1994, during which he spoke at Islamic centres in Houston, Chicago and Boston. "At that time, I liked it," Saeed said. The report said Saeed's freedom to roam around Lahore and across Pakistan "suggests some generals still believe the good jihadis are worth having around".

According to the report, western intelligence officials say Lashkar's training camps, where LeT operative David Headley received training, in northern Pakistan have not been shut down. Headley was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a Chicago court last month for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives.

With Additional Inputs from PTI