New Delhi/Islamabad: Under intense pressure to avoid Pakistan’s blac-klisting by global anti-terror financing entity FATF, the Pakistan police on Wednesday ar-rested Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed on charges of terror financing.
The arrest was made by the counter-terrorism department (CTD) of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Saeed is the founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and now heads terror group Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
Saeed, who has several cases pending against him, was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to get pre-arrest bail in terror financing cases registered against him there when he was arrested, a CTD official told PTI in Islamabad. “The JuD chief was going to Gujranwala from Lahore on Wednes-day morning when a CTD team intercepted him near Gujranwala city (some 80 km from Lahore) and arrested him on terror financing charges,” the official was quoted as saying.
Soon after the arrest, Saeed was presented before an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala that granted his judicial remand. He was subsequently shifted to Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.
India is believed to be viewing these developments with caution in view of Islamabad’s previous track record, where it has backtracked on action agai-nst terrorists. Just recently, New Delhi had accused Pakistan of attempting to “hoodwink” the international community by trying to show action against terror groups and said one should not be “fooled by these cosmetic steps”.
The comment was made by New Delhi earlier this month after reports that Pakistan claimed it had “booked” Saeed and 12 of his close aides for “terrorism fin-ancing” in 23 cases.
The MEA had said “Pakistan’s sincerity to take action against terror groups will be judged on the basis of their ability to demonstrate verifiable, credible and irreversible action”.
A few weeks ago, Pakistan had escaped blacklisting at anti-terror body FATF meeting in Orlando in the United States, but FATF is all set to examine Islamabad’s track record once again in October this year.
The FATF had earlier put Pakistan on its “Grey List” (in which it is currently) for monitoring by FATF’s Inte-rnational Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). The “Grey List” comprises nations who are seen to have failed to fulfil their obligations to combat terror financing.
The Pakistani CTD had on July 3 registered 23 FIRs against 13 top leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, including Saeed, on charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province....