India has declined to attach any great importance to the arrest of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed due to the “symbolic action” taken by Pakistan to show the world.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested on Wednesday by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan’s Punjab Province and sent to judicial custody.
According to Pakistani 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.
Speaking on his arrest, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We have seen this drama more than 8 times since 2001, question is, whether this will be more than a cosmetic exercise, whetherHafiz Saeed will be tried and sentenced for his terror activities,” adding that Saeed has been released by Pakistan every time on “some grounds or other”.
He further said that such symbolic action by Pakistan will not be enough to impress India.
“Pakistan sometimes takes symbolic action because it has to show the world,” said Kumar and reiterated that only “verifiable, credible and irreversible” action against Saeed will impress India and the rest of the world.
Earlier on Wednesday, 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.
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.