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On Wednesday, July 17, Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was arrested on terror finance charges and sent to jail in Lahore. Reports quoting a spokesperson for the chief minister of Punjab province said that Saeed was sent to judicial custody and will face trial.
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab arrested Saeed when he was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court. He has now been sent to the high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.
“The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal,” NDTV quoted the Punjab province spokesman as saying.
Indian government sources, however, are sceptical until Hafiz Saeed is “actually tried and convicted”.
This move comes days before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington to hold talks with President Donald Trump.
Following the arrest, Donald Trump tweeted: “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!”
Pakistan has been under pressure to stop financing terror groups, and has been included in the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force, a money laundering and terror finance watchdog.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2019
Hafiz Saeed is the founder of the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and is a US-designated terrorist. He has been blamed for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which claimed the lives of about 166 people.
An amount of $10 million has been offered by the US as a reward for information leading to Hafiz Saeed’s conviction over the deadly Mumbai terror attacks.
Reportedly, Saeed has been roaming around freely in Pakistan for years despite Indian’s history of terror attack cases against him and evidence of his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, one of the deadliest ever. While roaming free, he even addressed anti-India rallies with impunity.
Pakistan detained Hafiz Saeed and his four aides in 2017, but with the Judicial Review Board of Punjab refusing to extend their confinement, they were released after nearly 11 months.
Just before the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2018, Pakistan was urged by the US to take action against those responsible. A new reward of $5 million was also on the offer.
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