A day after US President Donald Trump welcomed the arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan, saying “great pressure” was exerted over Islamabad in the last two years to find him, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday, in a reply to Trump’s tweet, said that Pakistan was not searching for him for 10 years and he was living freeling in the country before his arrest. The committee also asked Trump to “hold the applause” until his conviction.
“FYI Pakistan wasn’t searching for him for 10 years. He’s been living freely, and was arrested and released in:
December 2001, May 2002, October 2002, August 2006 (twice), December 2008, September 2009, January 2017. Let’s hold the (welcome) until he’s convicted,” the US House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted.
FYI Pakistan wasn’t searching for him for 10 years. He’s been living freely, and was arrested and released in:
August 2006 (twice)
Let’s hold the 👏 until he’s convicted. https://t.co/qMtD7wgSp9
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) July 17, 2019
On Wednesday, Trump said in a tweet, “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!”
Saeed was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Pakistan on Wednesday in connection with charges of terror financing as a part of Pakistan government’s crackdown against outlawed organisations.
Following the 26/11 Mumbai terror 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.
His arrest comes just days ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to the US and talks with President Trump, who has previously admonished Pakistan for not doing enough to rein in terror groups operating from its soil.
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.