Pakistan Caves, Arrests Major Terror Suspect

The Taj Hotel in Mumbai Local Punjabi authorities in Pakistan placed Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jumaat-ud-Dawah, under a six-month house arrest in Lahore along with four other organizational leaders on January 30. Many sources allege Hafiz Saeed to be the mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which targeted the famous Taj Hotel, among other locations .

Jumaat-ud-Dawah is the political wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an organization which Saeed founded in 1990 as the militant wing of Markaz-ad-Dawa-wal-Irshad, an Islamist organization. Lashkar-e-Taiba split from Markaz-ad-Dawa-wal-Irshad in 2002 and focuses its efforts on creating instability in India to remove Indian control of Kashmir and move towards Muslim domination of the entire subcontinent. Lashkar-e-Taiba is also linked to al-Qaeda. Both India and the United States have designated Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist organization.

In addition to the house arrests, the Pakistani government has also placed both Jumaat-ud-Dawah and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s charitable wing, on a watch list under the Schedule II of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Pakistan has marked these two organizations as security threats and imposed new restrictions on their activities.

The Pakistani government differs from India’s in that it is not officially certain of Saeed’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks. The Indian government believes that Pakistan holds all the evidence necessary to prosecute Saeed, as is evidenced by the words of Indian Foreign Minister Vikas Swarup. In response to a request from the Pakistani government to provide evidence against Saeed in the Mumbai attacks, Swarup stated, “[The] entire conspiracy for the Mumbai attack was hatched in Pakistan. All the terrorists came from Pakistan. All the planning was done in Pakistan. All the support was rendered by Pakistan. So, all the evidence to implicate the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack is already available in Pakistan.”

There are conflicting theories on the motive behind Pakistan’s decision to take immediate action on Saeed and Jumaat-ud-Dawah. Some claim that Pakistan made this move to appease the United States and avoid a travel ban. Others suggest that the cause derives from Chinese pressure to tame militant groups and stabilize the region. Either way, external factors are forcing Pakistan into compliance.