This Drama Has Happened 8 Times Since 2001: MEA on Saeed’s Arrest

India on Thursday slammed Pakistan’s “drama” over Hafiz Saeed’s arrest, saying it has happened before as well.

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India on Thursday, 18 July, slammed Pakistan’s “drama” over Hafiz Saeed’s arrest saying that he has been arrested multiple times earlier only to be released later.

“It has been happening for a long time – arrest-release, arrest-release. After every major terror incident he perpetrates in India, he has been arrested and then released on some grounds or other. This drama, to my count, has happened over eight times since 2001,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Saeed was arrested on Wednesday by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan's Punjab Province, on allegations of terror funding.

The arrest comes days ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's maiden visit to the US.

“The JuD chief was going to Gujranwala from Lahore on Wednesday morning when a CTD team intercepted him near Gujranwala city (some 80-km from Lahore) and arrested him on terror financing charges,” a CTD official told PTI.

US President Donald trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to laud the move.

He tweeted, saying that ‘great pressure was exerted’ to find Saeed over the last two years.

Saeed Lodged in Lahore’s High Security Jail

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 where former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is lodged,” the official said.

Sharif is serving seven years imprisonment in the jail in Al-Azizia Mills corruption case.

Earlier, a special public prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, Ujjwal Nikam, had said that Pakistan was “fooling the world about Saeed’s arrest.”

Arrest Comes in Light of ‘International Pressure’

Saeed's arrest comes just ahead of Prime Minister Khan's maiden visit to the US on 21 July during which he will hold talks with US President Donald Trump.

Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny terrorists safe haven and block their access to funds.

Saeed’s arrest is also being seen as the result of pressure on Pakistan in connection with its commitment to the Financial Act Task Force (FATF) whose next deadline is in October.

Since the Khan government took control of the JuD and the FIF properties including seminaries and mosques across the country following international pressure built up after the deadly Pulwama attack, Saeed was keeping a low profile at his Lahore's Jauhar Town residence.

He was even barred from entering the JuD headquarters in Lahore and Muridke.

The Pakistani authorities have also launched investigations into matters of the JuD and LeT regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing.

Saeed Was Granted Pre-Arrest Bail in Illegal Land Case

On Monday, 15 July, Saeed and his three aides were granted pre-arrest bail by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore, which stopped police from arresting them till 3 August in a land grabbing case. They are accused of setting up a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) seminary over there.

The CTD on Wednesday, July 3 had registered 23 FIRs against 13 top leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) including Saeed on charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province.

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, 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 10 million dollar reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

(With inputs from PTI)

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