Written byShalini Ojha
Days after booking him on terror financing charges, Pakistan on Wednesday arrested UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
Saeed, the mastermind of the gruesome 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, has been sent to judicial custody, Pakistani media reported.
To note, Pakistan has been put on notice by FATF. The terror watchdog has said if Pakistan fails to curb home-grown terrorism, it will be blacklisted.
Saeed, whose anti-India sentiments aren't hidden, is the chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Despite India giving a dossier to Pakistan about his involvement in terror activities across the border, Saeed roamed freely.
In 2017, he and his four aides were detained by Pakistan government.
But they were released merely 11 months later after Judicial Review Board of Punjab didn't extend their confinement.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's counter-terrorism department (CTD) booked Saeed and his 12 accomplices. They were slapped with 23 cases, which were registered in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Multan.
"They committed multiple offenses of terrorism financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. They will be prosecuted in anti-terrorism courts for the commission of these offenses," CTD said in a statement.
Apart from Saeed, three main members of JuD were booked in these cases.
These included Saeed's brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Ameer Hamza, and Mohammad Yahya Aziz.
The other terrorists who were booked were Malik Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Dr. Ahmad Daud, Dr. Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali, and Abdul Ghaffar.
According to reports, Saeed was arrested from Lahore, when he was on his way to Gujranwala. He will reportedly challenge the cases against him in court.
It's also important to note that Pakistan's action against Saeed comes before PM Imran Khan's visit to the US.
The country's Prime Minister is hoping to mend ties with the White House in his maiden trip.
FATF's strongly-worded statement against Pakistan could have also driven this action. In the latest Orlando plenary, FATF asked Islamabad to implement all 27 points of its action plan by October.
It slammed Pakistan for failing to take strong action against UN-designated terrorists.
Getting blacklisted by FATF will have adverse effects on Pakistan's already crumbling economy, something which Khan can't afford.
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