DOUBLE GAME … Pakistan ‘arrests’ terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Lahore


NEW DELHI: One of the top terrorist outfits head, Hafiz Saeed of the Jamaat –u-Dawa, was arrested in Lahore by the authorities in Pakistan, media reports said on Wednesday. Saeed, who masterminded numerous terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and also the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was detained while he was on his way to Gujranwala in central Pakistan.


Hafiz Saeed was earlier the head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Army of the Pure, which was the main entity organising terror attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere. He is also reported to have organised attacks in Afghanistan and Iran. The outfit had been banned by the UN, after which he styled it as Jamaat U Dawa. The UN recently banned the JuD of Masood Azhar, too, following pressure from India and nod from China after a long-drawn push with Beijing by the Modi government. Azhar is currently in the protective custody of the ISI military intelligence at Rawalpindi military hospital. Pakistani authorities claim Azhar is seriously ill.

The counter-terrorism department in Pakistan, under pressure from the US and UN, had filed some 23 cases in the first week of July against Hafiz Saeed and some of his henchmen, in connection with their roles in terror financing. The arrest appears to have been made in this connection, and Saeed is likely to move court for immediate release. He had already been granted bail in some land grab case earlier this week.

Ashar’s arrest by itself does not mean much. Pakistani political establishment is known to play double game, and it is still not time to say things are hotting up for those who promote terror from Pakistani soil.

Hafiz Saeed had been designated a global terrorist by the UN as also the US. The US had also announced a reward of $10millon to those providing credible evidence that could lead to Hafiz’s conviction.

Masood Azhar, who had been detained in Jammu and Kashmir after he sneaked into India via Bangladesh with a non-Pakistan passport, was released along with some other terrorists in custody during the AB Vajpayee government’s time. This, after Azhar’s brother led a gang to hijack an Indian Airlines plane flying to India Kathmandu. A huge ransom was also paid to the hijackers by the Indian government, also as relatives of some top bureaucrat close to Vajpayee were among those travelling by the plane. The deal had cast a bad mark on the Vajpayee government.

The release of Azhar had resulted in a huge fillip to militancy in Kashmir, which he encouraged from Pakistani soil with support from the ISI military intelligence and Pakistan army brass. –IHN-NN


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