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Pakistan militant chief offers help to storm-hit US

Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 08:07 EDT

The founder of a Pakistan-based Islamist group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks has offered humanitarian aid to the United States as it battles superstorm Sandy.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit and now head of the charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said his organisation was ready to offer every possible help to the storm-hit American people.

"Jamaat-ud-Dawa is ready to send its volunteers, doctors, food, medicines and other relief items on humanitarian grounds if the US government allows us," Mr Saeed said in a statement.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is seen as a front for LeT, which both the American and Indian governments blame for the commando-style attacks on India's financial capital in 2008 that killed 166 people.
In April, the United States offered $US10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Saeed, who lives openly in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore.

"America may have any opinion about us, it may fix bounties on our heads but as followers of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, we feel it is our Islamic duty to help Americans trapped in a catastrophe," Mr Saeed said.

His charity has long denied terror accusations and is known around Pakistan for its relief work in the wake of the devastating Kashmir earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010, which were the worst in the country's history.

Mr Saeed was put under house arrest a month after the Mumbai attacks, but was released in 2009 and in 2010 as Pakistan's highest court upheld his release on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to detain him.



© ABC 2012

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