Interpol issues fresh red notice against LeT chief Hafiz Saeed
Interpol, acting on India’s request, has issued a fresh red notice against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed for spearheading anti-India activities from across the border, people familiar with the matter said.
This is the second red notice since 2009 against the United Nations designated terrorist, currently lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison. The first global arrest warrant against Saeed was issued on August 28, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 166 people , including 25 foreigners were killed and 235 people were injured.
One of the people cited above said that NIA “sent a request to the Interpol last month seeking a fresh red notice against Hafiz Saeed listing fresh charges against him”.
A red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
A first-of-its-kind drone attack at Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Jammu on June 27 was carried out by Saeed’s organisation, according to a preliminary probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
A car-bomb that exploded outside Hafiz Saeed’s residence in Lahore’s Johar town on June 23, and Pakistan has claimed that India’s spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was behind the attack, a charge strongly denied by Indian officials who have termed the allegation “motivated”.
The 71-year-old founder of LeT and its frontal organisation, Jamat-ud-Dawa, is wanted in India for multiple attacks including December 22, 2000 Red Fort attack, December 2001 Parliament attack, ambush on Border Security Force (BSF) convoy at Udampur in August 5, 2015, and multiple other blasts in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities. He is also wanted in connection to a case on terror funding in Jammu & Kashmir, in which several separatist leaders were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2017-18. Both NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), have named Saeed as the mastermind in J&K terror funding probe where they believe that he, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, separatist leaders, several businessmen in Kashmir and officials in the Pakistan high commission, were funding terrorist attacks and stone-pelters as part of a well-planned criminal conspiracy of securing secession of the state of Jammu & Kashmir from India.
Despite India’s repeated requests and the United States announcing a reward of $10 million on him, Pakistan is yet to take concrete action against Saeed and he continues to carry out his activities.
Although he is lodged in a Lahore jail, Indian counter-terrorism officials say this is just an “eye-wash” by Pakistan as part of its review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has kept in the “grey-list” since June 2018 for failing to meet the agency’s action plan on cracking down on terror-financing.
He was arrested by Pakistani authorities on multiple occasions since 2000 for terror activities, only to be released after few days.
Saeed has a close relationship with Pakistan’s military and spy agency ISI, who often speak in his favour. He is also closely associated with Taliban leadership, which is reflected in the fact that he established an office of LeT in Quetta, Pakistan in June 2006 to assist Taliban in the conduct of their operations in Afghanistan, according to the UN Security Council notice against him.
“In 2005, Saeed determined where graduates of a LeT camp in Pakistan should be sent to fight, and personally organized the infiltration of LeT militants into Iraq during a trip to Saudi Arabia. In 2006, Saeed oversaw the management of a terrorist camp, including funding of the camp. Saeed also arranged for a LeT operative to be sent to Europe as LeT’s European fundraising coordinator,” according to the United Nations Security Council.