New Delhi: United States president Donald Trump on Wednesday applauded the arrest of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and said the hunt to nab the accused had been on for 10 years. He also said pressure had been exerted on Islamabad to find Saeed for 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! (sic),” Trump tweeted.
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
Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), was arrested on Wednesday on terror financing charges by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Province in Pakistan, just days ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's maiden visit to the United States.
Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a $10 million bounty, was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to get pre-arrest bail in terror financing cases registered against him there when he was arrested, said a CTD official.
The arrest came just days ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's maiden visit to the US and talks with Trump who has previously admonished Pakistan for not doing enough to rein in terror groups operating from its soil.
However, former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani contested Trump's tweets and said that the official who gave the President such information should be fired. "Finding him was never an issue. He operated freely and was highly visible. He has been arrested and released many times over," he said.
Finding him was never an issue. He operated freely and was highly visible. He has been arrested and released many times over. @POTUS shd immediately fire whoever gave him the wrong information. @StateDept @SecPompeo https://t.co/RWFONNAdSF— Husain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) July 17, 2019
"Found?? The man had been leading prayers in the largest cricket stadium of the country for years & riding horses to the national monument in Lahore, Pakistan," tweeted columnist Mohammad Taqi.
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 reward for information that brings the JuD chief to justice.
The CTD on July 3 had registered 23 FIRs against 13 top leaders of the JuD including Saeed on the charges of "terror financing" in different cities of Punjab province.
Under pressure from the international community, Pakistani authorities have launched investigations into matters of the LeT, the JuD and its charity wing the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing.
Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny terrorists safe haven and block their access to funds.
The Pakistani government had also recently arrested the JuD's second-in-command Abdul Rehman Makki, who is brother-in-law of Saeed, on the charges of making a public speech and terror financing charges.
Saeed was keeping a low profile at his Lahore's Jauhar Town residence after the Imran 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 Pulwama attack carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
(With inputs from PTI)