Mumbai attack mastermind under house arrest

MNA Editorial Desk: The alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks that killed 164 in Mumbai, India, has been placed under house arrest in Pakistan.

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed — the leader of Pakistan’s Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JUD) — was detained in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, according to a government statement released late Sunday.

Saeed is under detention in the town of Lahore. Four other men — Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz — have also been placed under house arrest in other towns around Punjab.

The arrests come in conjunction with the placing of two organizations — JUD and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation — on a watch list under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

All the men were detained for being active members of the organizations and are being held under Section 11-EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which gives the government the power to arrest or detain suspects for up to 12 months.

The horror of the Mumbai carnage played out on live television around the world as commandos battled the heavily armed gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26, 2008.

It took the authorities three days to regain full control of the city and New Delhi has long said there is evidence that “official agencies” in Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack.

Islamabad denies the charge.

But for years JuD operated freely across the country, popular for its charity works especially in the wake of natural disasters, and testing Islamabad’s vow to tackle militancy.

Despite the bounty against him Saeed led a high-profile public life, regularly delivering fiery anti-India speeches.

The detention order surfaced hours after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar hinted that a crackdown was imminent.

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