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Pakistan arrests four aides of Hafiz Saeed ahead of FATF meet

File photo of Hafiz Saeed. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan Oct 10, 2019, 10.56 PM (IST)

Pakistani authorities on Thursday arrested four aides of terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai in 2008.

The aides have been arrested on the charges of terrorism financing, counter-terrorism police said.

Saeed, arrested on the same charges, has been on judicial remand since July, a move welcomed by US President Donald Trump who wants Pakistan to do more to crack down on militancy.

But Saeed`s arrest came just ahead of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Imran Khan and was seen by India as a ploy to smooth the way before a meeting with Trump.

Thursday`s arrests come ahead of Financial Action Task Force meeting which is scheduled for next week.

The global watchdog FATF will review progress made by Pakistan in controlling terror financing and money laundering.

Pakistan, included on a so-called grey list compiled by the FATF, has been under increasing pressure to stop the financing of terror groups.

The four aides will appear before a trial court on Friday, police said in a statement.

Saeed, designated a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations, is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, or Army of the Pure, the militant group blamed by the United States and India for the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people.

The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed`s conviction.