Mumbai terror attacks mastermind and Jammaat ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested today in Gujranwala. According to Pakistan media reports, he was arrested by the Counter Terrorism Department while he was travelling from to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. A spokesman for JuD confirmed Saeed’s arrest and said the charges he faces are still unknown but appear to be linked to terrorism financing, Reuters reported.
On Monday, Hafiz Saeed and three of his aides were granted pre-arrest bail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan over JuD’s illegal use of land for a seminary. Last week, Pakistani authorities had announced a crackdown on terror financing by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its front organizations. They said cases were registered against Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his aides.
India was not impressed by Pakistan’s claims and said that the action of terror financing seemed like an effort to “hoodwink” the international community. “Let us not get fooled by these cosmetic steps. We have seen the course of such convictions in the past,” Raveesh Kumar, foreign ministry spokesperson, had said.
Hafiz Saeed’s JuD is believed to the front for Lashkar, which is responsible for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Taiba has been declared as a foreign terrorist organization by the US. Saeed was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US treasury department with a $10 million award for any information that brings him to justice.
Washington had warned Islamabad of “repercussions” after he was released from house arrest in 2017 India has handed over several dossiers to Pakistan detailing the role of Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar in the Mumbai attacks. Islamabad has said that Saeed had been cleared by Pakistani courts and India needs to provide more evidence.