November 24, 2017 / 10:08 AM / 5 months ago

Newly freed Pakistani Islamist Hafiz Saeed calls ex-PM Nawaz Sharif a 'traitor'

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - A newly freed Pakistani Islamist accused of masterminding a bloody 2008 assault in the Indian city of Mumbai called on Friday ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a “traitor” for seeking peace with neighbour and arch-foe India.

Hafiz Saeed (C) reacts to supporters as he walks out of court after a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head over the Mumbai attack, spoke at Friday prayers after being freed earlier in the day from 11 months of house arrest by a court that said there was no evidence to hold him.

Saeed was placed under house arrest in January while Sharif was still prime minister, a move that drew praise from India, long furious at Saeed’s freedom in Pakistan.

A Supreme Court ruling disqualified Sharif from office in July over a corruption investigation, though his party still runs the government.

Saeed, however, said Sharif deserved to be removed for his peace overtures with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Nawaz Sharif asks why he was ousted? I tell him he was ousted because he committed treason against Pakistan by developing friendship with Modi, killers of thousands of Muslims,” Saeed said.

Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Robert Birsel

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