Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was arrested in the central Pakistan town of Gujranwala on Wednesday by the counter terrorism department.
US president Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed the arrest of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan. “After a ten year search, the so-called “mastermind” of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!,” Trump tweeted.
the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was arrested in the central Pakistan town of Gujranwala on Wednesday by the counter terrorism department. A statement from the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department said Saeed was arrested while he was on his way to a court to seek pre-arrest bail.
A spokesperson for the counter terrorism department said Saeed was sent to judicial remand for seven days after he was produced before the court in Gujranwala. The court directed the counter terrorism department to complete its investigation and submit a chargesheet.
The arrest came just days before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the US. Khan has vowed to crack down on miltants operating in Pakistan.
Hafiz Saeed and three of his aides were granted pre-arrest bail on Monday by an anti-terrorism court over JuD’s illegal use of land for a seminary.
Hafiz Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. He has been designated as a terrorist by both the UN and the US. The US treasury department has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed’s conviction over the Mumbai attacks, which left over 160 people dead.
Saeed’s arrest comes at a time when Pakistan has been under increasing pressure to crack down on militant groups. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June held out the possibility of placing Pakistan on its “black list”, saying Islamabad had failed for the second consecutive time to implement an action plan to counter terror financing..The multilateral watchdog placed Pakistan on its “grey list” in June last year.
Earlier this month, Pakistani authorities had announced a crackdown on terror financing by Lashkar and its front organizations and said cases had been registered against Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his aides.
India wasn’t impressed with Pakistan’s efforts and said the crackdown seemed like an attempt 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,” foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
In 2017, Saeed was put under house arrest by authorities in Pakistan but was released soon after that led to strong criticism from India and the US.
New Delhi has handed over several dossiers to Islamabad detailing the role of Hafiz Saeed and LeT in the 26/11 attacks. Pakistan said Saeed had been cleared by its courts and sought more eveidence from India.