Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of the banned JuD Hafiz Saeed was arrested Wednesday by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan’s Punjab Province and sent to jail on judicial remand, officials said.
Saeed, who has several cases pending against him was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court when he was arrested, officials said.
He has been sent to the high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail here on judicial remand, officials said.
Saeed-led Jamatud Dawa is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Under pressure from the international community, Pakistani authorities have launched investigations into matters of the LeT, JuD and its charity wing the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing.
Saeed’s arrest comes after the CTD, in a crackdown against terror financing, registered 23 cases against the JuD chief and his 12 aides for using five trusts to funnel funds to terror suspects.
On Monday, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore had granted pre-arrest bail to the JuD chief and three others in a case pertaining to the outfit’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary.
ATC Judge Javed Iqbal Warriach granted pre-arrest bail to Saeed and his three aides – Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza and Malik Zafar – until August 3 against the surety bonds of Rs 50,000 each.
On July 3, top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997
The CTD had registered an FIR against Saeed and others for illegally grabbing a piece of land in Lahore and setting up a seminary.
According to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service.
In March, Punjab police said that government seized control of 160 seminaries, 32 schools, two colleges, four hospitals, 178 ambulances and 153 dispensaries associated with the JuD and its charity wing FIF in the province.
At least 56 seminaries and facilities being run by the JuD and FIF in southern Sindh province were also taken over by authorities in the same month.