Pakistan defence minister says LeT chief Hafiz Saeed posed 'threat to country'
Hafiz Saeed has been accused by India of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which left 164 people dead and hundreds injured. Photograph: (AFP)
Pakistan's defence minister Khwaja Asif has said Lashkar e Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed posed a "threat to the country" and was arrested "in the larger national interest", The Nation reported.
The statement comes days after Saeed, wanted by India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was listed by Pakistan under its anti-terrorism act.
Saeed's name was added under the fourth schedule of Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). According to the fourth schedule, the government may arrest or detain a person for a period not exceeding twelve months.
Saeed was also put under the exit control list by the provincial Punjab government, meaning he is prohibited from leaving Pakistan
He was also put under the exit control list by the provincial Punjab government, meaning that he is prohibited from leaving Pakistan.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday (February 19), defence minister Khwaja Asif also opposed the use of Islamic terrorism, blaming US President Donald Trump for whipping up Islamophobia by using the term.
He urged that terrorism was not linked to a particular religion as more than "90 per cent" of the people killed in terror attacks are Muslims.
"Terrorists aren’t Christians or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. They are terrorists, they are criminals,” the minister said during the conference.
India for long has been demanding Pakistan to come down hard on Saeed for allegedly orchestrating the Mumbai attacks, which left 164 people dead and scores wounded.
But New Delhi repeatedly maintained that Islamabad has gone soft on Saeed.
However, things have changed in Pakistan in recent days, with international powers piling pressure on Islamabad to act against the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind.
Saeed's house arrest has been expectedly welcomed by New Delhi, who called it a "logical first step" to thwart the "twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism" in the region.