In a massive crackdown on terror activities, Mumbai 26/11 attacks mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder Hafiz Saeed has been arrested by Pakistan's Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department, Pak media reported on Wednesday. The Jama'at-ud-Da'wah chief was arrested by Punjab's CTD from Lahore while he was travelling to Gujranwala. He will be sent to prison on judicial remand and will face trial. Earlier on Monday. an anti-terror court of Pakistan had granted bail to Hafiz Saeed.
This development has come amid the pressures being built on Imran Khan government in Pakistan by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to act against terror outfits and terrorists who are operating from the country.
Earlier this month, debt-ridden Pakistan authorities had launched a crackdown on Hafiz Saeed, who reportedly has been living at his Jauhar Town residence in Lahore, and other terrorists owing to the increasing international pressures to act against terrorist groups. Pakistan's Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (PCTD) had registered over 20 cases against Hafiz Saeed and his 12 aides on the charges of "terror financing" in different cities of Punjab province.
After being charged guilty, Saeed and his six aides earlier this week had challenged the charges of terror financing and money laundering against them in a Pakistani court. The JuD chief's petition claimed that he and others were not members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claiming no nexus with LeT or Al-Qaeda.
"They belong to JuD and they are not involved in any terrorist activity and they are only working for social welfare like 'Edhi' and more than that they are also educating the poor and the needy," the petition said.
Earlier in February 2019, Pakistan government banned 11 organisations for having links with proscribed outfits including Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Masood Azhar's Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) - which had long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Also the United States, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
(With PTI inputs)