Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed Wednesday was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Pakistan. Saeed was held in connection with charges of terror financing and is a part of Pakistan government’s crackdown against outlawed organisations.
A spokesman for JuD, a charity run by Saeed, said counter-terrorism officials arrested Saeed while he was on his way to the central Pakistan town of Gujranwala, reported news agency Reuters.
Cases against Hafiz Saeed
Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the terror outfit JuD, is considered to be the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Following the attack, the US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has placed a bounty of $ 10 million on him.
In July this year, Pakistan also lodged 23 cases against Saeed and 12 aides for using five trusts to collect funds and donations for Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan’s push against Saeed came after it was rapped by the terror financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at a plenary session in the USA. FATF chair, the US, had told Pakistan it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for terror groups.
The LeT has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and the charities since last year. Saeed, who denies involvement in violence or funding militants, has been freed by Pakistani courts after being detained at his home several times in the past.
Hafiz Saeed’s earlier arrests
Saeed was, possibly for the first time, detained in December 2001, after the Parliament attack. Pakistan took Saeed into custody on December 21, 2001, after India had built pressure and asserted that he was involved in the December 13, 2001 attack. Saeed was held until March 31, 2002, released, then taken back into custody on May 15. He was placed under house arrest until October 31, 2002, after his wife Maimoona Saeed sued the province of Punjab and the Pakistan federal government for what she claimed was an illegal detention.
After the July 11, 2006, Mumbai train bombings, he was arrested on August 9 and kept him under house arrest but he was released on August 28 after a Lahore High Court order. He was arrested again the same day by the provincial government and was kept in the Canal Rest House in Sheikhupura. He was released after a Lahore High Court order on October 17, 2006.
Post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he was again placed under house arrest in December 2008 until early June 2009.
On August 25, 2009, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against Saeed, along with Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, in response to Indian requests for his extradition. Saeed was again placed under house arrest by the Pakistani authorities in September 2009. On October 12, 2009, the Lahore High Court quashed all cases against him and set him free.
In January 2017, when the FATF started scrutinising Pakistan’s record against terrorism, Saeed was once again put under house arrest. On November 24, 2017, Pakistani authorities announced that Saeed had been released from house arrest earlier in the week after the Lahore High Court concluded that there was “nothing tangible” in the evidence presented against him in a government request to extend his detention.