US President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed credit for the arrest of Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan government, saying great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him even as India is yet to officially react to Islamabad's action.
Terming Saeed as "so-called mastermind" of the Mumbai terror attacks, Trump said he has been arrested after a ten-year search.
The arrest of Hafiz Saeed came ahead of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict in favour of India on staying the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
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
Hafiz Saeed's arrest was also seen as Islamabad reaching out to Washington ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's meeting with Trump. Pakistan has also joined the US, Russia and China in finding out a peace solution in Afghanistan by bringing Taliban on board. The move has not gone down well in India as it was kept out of the crucial initiative.
Hafiz Saeed who has several cases pending against him was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court to seek pre-arrest bail when he was taken into custody by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).
A CTD official told media Hafiz Saeed had been presented in an anti-terrorism court and sent to prison. He added that the charge sheet against Saeed will be presented soon. The official further said that a case against Hafiz Saeed had been lodged under the anti-terrorism act, Pakistani media quoted Reuters as saying.
"The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal," Punjab Chief Minister's spokesman Shahbaz Gill was quoted as saying.
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.
On July 3, top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.
These non-profit organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.
On Monday, a Lahore High Court division bench sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.
Also on Monday, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore had granted pre-arrest bail to the JuD chief and three others in a case pertaining to the outfit's alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, against surety bonds of Rs 50,000 each.
New Delhi is also opposed to postponment of elections in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has also opened up its airspace for traffic from India after blocking it for more than five months in the wake of border tension.
India sees Pakistan government's action with suspicion and the so-called crackdown against terrorists is seen as diversionary tactics.