News Desk |
US President Donald trump took to Twitter to praise the arrest of Jamatud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed from Gujranwala yesterday. President Trump claimed that the arrest had been made on pressure exerted by his administration over the last two years.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2019
Interestingly, Trump did not name Hafiz Saeed choosing instead to address him as the “the so called mastermind of the Mumbai Terror attacks”.
Hafiz Saeed has been designated as a global terrorist by the US and there is a $10 million award to anyone who can provide information confirming a link between him and the Mumbai attacks.
The JuD chief was arrested in Gujranwala yesterday as he made his way from Lahore to an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) to obtain pre arrest bail. He had already secured bail from an ATC in Lahore. A JuD spokesperson said that the arrest had been made on the charges of terror financing.
The arrest had been interpreted by local commentators as a step towards avoiding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist. But some had also commented that Hafiz Saeed might have been arrested in the run up to PM Imran Khan’s meeting with President Trump. In the light of the tweet by Trump it would appear the latter interpretation is correct.
However, the part of President Trump’s tweet that is inviting more responses than anything else is how he referred to Hafiz Saeed’s arrest as a result of a “ten year search”. However, Hafiz Saeed has been in and out of custody for a long time and has also been giving interviews to local and foreign press.
Hafiz Saeed was definitely not on the run when I met him at home in Lahore in 2013. His liberty, or lack of, is often a function of international pressure on Pakistan over its support for militancy. https://t.co/nfYMzMUejJ
— Declan Walsh (@declanwalsh) July 17, 2019
Oh, I also interviewed Hafiz Muhammad Saeed for @AJEnglish back in 2015 at a JuD-run mosque and school in Islamabad. Did not take a lot of finding that time, either. https://t.co/Xgc5DaPg6d https://t.co/txfUeFz0po
— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) July 17, 2019
He was last placed under house arrest in 2017 but was released some 10 months later. The State Department had at the time expressed deep concern at his release. “The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes,” a statement had said.
Hafiz Saeed has been a on the US list of global terrorists since 2008, due to his alleged involvement in the Mumbai attack in which over 160 people were killed.