Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed has been placed under house arrest in Pakistan ostensibly under anti-terror laws, but many in the intelligence establishment are seeing this as yet another effort by Pakistan to appease the United States and its new President Donald Trump when it comes to their partnership on the war against terrorism.
Pakistan's step to put Saeed — who India has for long claimed to be the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, also known as the 26/11 terror attacks — and five others under house arrest after there was talk of Pakistan being put on the list of countries whose visa would not work in the US, and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan calling for exactly such a step.
What happened on Monday
JuD spokesperson Nadeem Awan told Dawn News: "A large police team arrived (at the JuD headquarters) and told us that Hafiz would be placed under house arrest." The Pakistani news outlet added that "a heavy contingent of police was deployed around the JuD headquarter and offices in Muridke and Lahore."
Saeed has been put under house arrest under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1977, according to the Dawn report. Also, Pakistani flags have reportedly replaced the JuD flags at key buildings of the organisation.
Hafiz Saeed and his transgressions
Saeed has so far remained scot-free in Pakistan, despite being arrested at least twice: He was released on both occasions. In between, he has not only threatened war against India if Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Kashmir solution was not accepted, but also urged Pakistan to send troops to Kashmir to ostensibly teach India a lesson.
However, Pakistan continues to be an ally of the US in its war against terrorism — despite Osama bin Laden himself being located and neutralised in Abbottabad in Pakistan — and the US had recently insisted that it wanted justice done in the matter of the 26/11 terror attacks. It is probably this and the threat of being put on the illegal-visa list that has led Pakistan to put Saeed under house arrest.