Trump goes gaga on Saeed's arrest, India calls it drama

Trump goes gaga on Saeed's arrest, India calls it drama

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba founder Hafiz Saeed. Reuters file photo

India has dismissed the latest arrest of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba founder Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan as yet another “drama” – just a day after United States President Donald Trump tweeted to claim credit for it.

New Delhi pointed out that Hafiz Saeed had been detained or arrested by law enforcing agencies of Pakistan Government several times in the past, but was always set free a few days or weeks later. It also noted that Saeed, who headed the LeT front Jamat-ud-Dawa, had been allowed not only to live free, but also to float a political party in Pakistan, despite being designated by United Nations Security Council long back as an “individual” linked to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and Taliban.

“This is not the first time that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested or detained. This drama has taken place at least eight times since 2001,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told journalists in New Delhi.

India has been criticizing Pakistan for failing to arrest the JuD chief and bring him to justice.

Saeed was arrested by the officials of the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab province of Pakistan early on Wednesday. He was arrested on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala in the neighbouring country. As many as 23 cases were registered against him and his 12 other aides earlier this month for alleged involvement in mobilizing and channelling funds to support the menace of terrorism. He was granted anticipatory bail by an Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday but was arrested in connection with another case on Wednesday. A court later sent him to jail on judicial remand.

Trump later claimed credit for the US for arrest of Saeed in Pakistan. “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!” the US President posted on Twitter. Saeed is suspected to be the mastermind of the terror strikes in Mumbai from November 26 to 28, 2008, when over 170 people were killed and countless others injured in a series of attacks by 10 LeT terrorists from Pakistan.

Many in New Delhi were surprised by the US President's tweet that he had been arrested “after a ten-year-search”. Though the US Government announced a $ 10 million bounty on him, he has so far been living free at Lahore in Pakistan, often spewing venom against both India and America in public rallies. He was placed under house arrest several times in the past 10 years, but was always set free after a few months.

“The question is whether this time it would be more than a cosmetic exercise and whether Saeed will be tried and sentenced for his terrorist activities,” the MEA spokesperson said in New Delhi.

Sources in New Delhi said that Islamabad had given the provincial government go-ahead for yet another arrest of Saeed, as it had come under pressure from Trump Administration to do so, particularly because Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit Washington D.C. to meet US President early next week.

“Pakistan’s sincerity to take action against terrorist and terror groups will be judged on the basis of their ability to demonstrate verifiable, credible and irreversible actions against terrorists and to disrupt and dismantle terror groups operating from their soil. We hope that this time Hafiz Saeed will genuinely be brought to justice,” said the MEA spokesperson.