MUMBAI TERROR attacks mastermind, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed, has been placed under “house arrest”, Pakistan media reported Monday, quoting sources in Punjab’s provincial government.
In a video message issued before his arrest, Saeed blamed the bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump for the latest action. He also asked his followers to raise the issue of Kashmir during Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed every year in Pakistan on February 5, and said that he was not afraid of being arrested. The video message was shared by the JuD’s media cell and appeared to have been recorded inside a moving car.
WATCH VIDEO | Jamaat-ud-Dawah Chief Hafiz Saeed Placed Under House Arrest
Saeed says in the message that his arrest was the result of pressure from India given his advocacy of the Kashmir issue and Balochistan.
What also added to the pressure on Pakistan, he suggested, was the “deep friendship” that Trump wanted to forge with Modi.
JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid was quoted by Reuters as saying that Pakistan’s Punjab police arrived at the organisation’s headquarters in Lahore with orders to place Saeed under house arrest. “These steps are being taken to please India,” claimed Mujahid.
There was no official confirmation from Pakistan on his arrest, but Indian government sources said they were monitoring the development. “Our diplomats in Islamabad will be sending us a report on the issue,” government sources told The Indian Express, adding that Saeed had been arrested at least twice in the last 10 years but let off subsequently.
JuD, a self-proclaimed charity organisation, is believed to be a front for the banned LeT and Saeed was declared a globally designated terrorist by the United Nations. In 2012, the US announced a $10 million bounty on Saeed.
Quoting sources, Geo News, Pakistan’s largest TV news channel, said that Saeed has been placed under house arrest at Jamia Qadsia Chauburji in Lahore.
According to a purported letter titled ‘Action against Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and Jamaat ud Dawa’ issued by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry and posted by Geo News on its website, Saeed has been placed under “preventive detention”, along with four others. The four were identified as Abdullah Ubaid (Faisalabad), Zafar Iqbal (Muridkay, Markaz-e-Taiba), Abdur Rehman Abid (Muridkay, Markaz-e-Taiba) and Qazi Kashif Niaz (Multan, presently in Lahore). According to Geo News, the Ministry of Interior had included their names on a Watch List as per UNSC norms.
According to the letter, the Ministry has “placed Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JUD) on the Watch List and have listed these organizations in the Second Schedule of the ATA 1997 (as amended)”.
“Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz are reportedly active members of the aforementioned organizations… As such, they must be placed under preventive detention,” states the letter.
It asks the Punjab Home Secretary to “kindly direct the concerned agencies to move and take necessary action” as the matter “is most urgent”.
Earlier Monday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said that the PML-N government was taking steps to “fulfill our obligations”.
“The organisation [JuD] has been ‘under observation’ since 2010-11. Since it has also been listed by the UN Security Council [Sanctions
Committee], we are bound to take some steps. We are taking those steps to fulfill our obligations,” he told reporters after inaugurating a passport office in Islamabad, according to a report in Express Tribune.
According to a report published in The News newspaper Monday, the US had warned Pakistan of sanctions if it did not declare JuD “defunct”.
“Consultations are going on whether to declare JuD as defunct or not. However, the final decision will be taken after consultations between the civilians and military authorities,” The News quoted an official as saying.
The News report claimed that United States assistant secretary of state had raised the issue during a meeting with Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, on January 11.