Hafiz Saeed, the Mumbai attacks mastermind, has been arrested and sent to jail in Pakistan, according to Pakistani media and news agency ANI. He was sent to judicial custody and will face trial, said reports from Pakistan.
A spokesman for the Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD), an organisation run by Hafiz Saeed, said counter-terrorism officials arrested him while he was on his way from Lahore to the central Pakistan town of Gujranwala. The charges he faces are still unknown but appear to be linked to terrorism financing, the spokesman added.
Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, faces 23 terror cases in Pakistan. Despite India’s dossier of terror cases against him and evidence of his involvement in the four-day siege of Mumbai by 10 Pakistani terrorists, Hafiz Saeed has been allowed for years to roam freely in Pakistan and even address anti-India rallies with impunity.
Earlier this month, Pakistan had filed terror charges against Hafiz Saeed following sustained international pressure. He was charged with multiple offences of terror financing and money laundering in a First Information Report filed by the Counter Terrorism Department of Pakistan’s Punjab Police.
In 2017, Hafiz Saeed and his four aides were detained by the Pakistan government under terror laws. But they were released after nearly 11 months when the Judicial Review Board of Punjab refused to extend their confinement further.
Last year, the Financial Action Task Force – a Paris-based global body working to curb terrorism – had placed Pakistan on a list of nations whose laws are considered too weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing. In October, it had asked the country to complete its action plan against terror funding or face action.
The US, just before the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, had urged Pakistan to take action against those responsible for the attacks and had offered a new reward of $5 million for helping secure their capture.