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Pakistan Arrests Alleged Mastermind Of Mumbai Attacks Ahead Of Trump Meeting

By RFE/RL July 17, 2019

Pakistani authorities say they have arrested the radical Islamist leader accused of masterminding the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Hafiz Saeed's arrest on July 17 came one day before Prime Minister Imran Khan was set to hold meetings with U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Khan has pledged to crack down on militant groups.

Shahbaz Gill, a spokesman for the governor of Punjab Province, said Saeed was arrested near the central Pakistani town of Gujranwala and charged with "gathering funds for banned outfits."

U.S. and Indian officials have accused Saeed of helping plan the Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen rampaged through India's largest city, shooting up two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, and a train station during a siege that lasted several days.

India accused Pakistan of helping organize the attacks in cooperation with Saeed, who is head of the Jamaat-ud Dawa charity. U.S. officials say the group is a front for the banned Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e Taiba.

Pakistan and Jamaat-ud Dawa have denied involvement in the Mumbai attack.

The United States has designated Saeed a terrorist and offered $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

The United States has long accused Pakistan of harboring militant groups fighting in India and Afghanistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of providing "safe havens" for the Taliban and cut financial and military aid to Islamabad.

Khan will be accompanied to Washington by Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, the head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military's spy wing.

The all-powerful army has an oversized role in the domestic and foreign affairs of the South Asian country, and has long been accused of using the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups as proxies in neighboring Afghanistan and India.

With reporting by Reuters and AP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistan-arrests -alleged-mastermind-of-mumbai-attacks-ahead-of- trump-meeting/30060103.html

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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