Tuesday, April 3, 2012



It is important to carefully study the language of the notices issued by the US Justice Department announcing bounties of US $ 25 million for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda, and US $ 10 million each for Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Afghan Taliban, and Prof-Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD).

2.In the case of Zawahiri and Omar, the announcement says :" Wanted Zawahiri" and "Wanted: Omar". That means the reward is for anyone who will help in locating them and assist in their capture or elimination.

3.In the case of Sayeed, the announcement says:"Wanted information leading to the arrest and conviction of Sayeed." The reward has been announced in continuation of a Red Corner Notice issued by India through the Interpol for his arrest for prosecution in connection with the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai.

4.In the case of Zawahiri and Omar, the bounty is on their head. In the case of Sayeed, the bountry is not on his head. It is for information which would facilitate his arrest and conviction in the 26/11 terrorist strikes.

5.Pakistan has been claiming that India has not been able to provide any smoking gun evidence that could warrant the arrest and prosecution of Sayeed in connection with the 26/11 strikes. The US has announced a huge reward for anyone who will provide such information.

6.The question of the US undertaking an Abbottabad style operation to kill Sayeed does not arise.For that the US President has to record a finding that Sayeed poses a serious threat to US nationals and interests and authorise the CIA to undertake any operation against him even if that would involve his death.No such finding has been recorded by the US President in the case of Sayeed.

7. One should avoid unnecessary euphoria on the US announcement. ( 3-4-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )