Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed has been arrested.
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police (Pakistan’s) arrested Hafiz Saeed from Lahore when he was on his way to Gujranwala. Hafiz Saeed has been reportedly sent on judicial remand. As per sources, Hafiz Saeed has said he will challenge cases against him in the court.
The arrest comes a day after Pakistan opened its airspace and before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden trip to the White House to help repair its relationship with the United States.
The Imran Khan government has been under pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to act against terror outfits and terrorists operating out of Pakistan.
Hafiz Saeed was earlier booked along with 12 accomplices for terror funding. He is facing 23 terror-related cases in Pakistan. Saeed was, however, granted bail as the government said they did not produce concrete evidence before the court.
Earlier, Pakistan counter-terrorism department said it had registered 23 cases against Hafiz Saeed and 23 others for using five trusts to “raise funds for terrorism financing”.
It said that funds collected by Hafiz Saeed and his accomplices through trusts were used to finance the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out terror strikes including the 2008 Mumbai attack in India. More than 165 people had died in Mumbai terror attacks when 10 Pakistani gunmen opened fire at multiple locations in the city.
Action against Hafiz Saeed followed pressure from the FATF, which placed Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries over terrorism financing.
In June this year, the FATF gave Pakistan a deadline of October this year to prove that it has improved its efforts to counter terror financing failing which the country would be facing sanctions.
Hafiz Saeed is a UN-designated a global terrorist and is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The US has announced a bounty of $10 million for providing evidence leading to his conviction.