Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed, has been reportedly arrested and sent to jail in Pakistan, according to media reports.
Pakistani officials quoted by PTI said that Saeed was arrested on Wednesday by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan’s Punjab Province. He has been sent to judicial custody and will face trial.
According to officials, the arrest took place when Saeed, who has several cases pending against him, was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court.
He has been moved to an unknown location.
Following global pressure, Pakistan had on July 3 booked Hafiz Saeed and his 12 accomplices for “terrorism financing” in 23 cases.
The CTD said Saeed and his aides used five trusts to “raise funds for terrorism financing”. The people named in the cases include Hafiz Saeed, his brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Ameer Hamza and Muhammad Yahya Aziz.
The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets made and held in the names of trusts, including Al-Anfaal, Dawat ul Irshad and Muaz Bin Jabal.
The JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba or LeT, which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
Earlier in February, following diplomatic pressure after the Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan had banned Saeed’s terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its front Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the United States, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice.
Hafiz Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.
Reacting on Saeed’s arrest, special public prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, Ujjwal Nikam said that “Pakistan was fooling the world by claiming that they have arrested him”.
“We have to see how they produce evidence in courts and how efforts are made to convict him; otherwise it is a drama,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.