Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has accused India of orchestrating the 2021 bombing near the house of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, who was blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in 2008.
In 2021, a suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint just outside Saeed’s house in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. The blast killed four people, although the terrorist’s family remained unharmed.
“We have strong evidence that India was involved in this attack. Our forces have all the evidence that they funded it,” said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah during a news conference in Islamabad. A Reuters inquiry for comment was not responded to by India’s foreign ministry.
Saeed founded the LeT in the 1980s. Indian officials have accused the terrorist organisation of orchestrating the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, in 2008, which led to the deaths of 166 people. Saeed is accused of being the mastermind behind the attacks. The LeT is also accused of carrying out the 2001 Parliament attack and the 2019 Pulwama attack.
Pakistan’s counterterrorism unit has recently arrested several members of a cell after supposedly discovering clues of their involvement in the 2021 suicide attack, according to Sanaullah. In his statement, the minister said that the group was backed by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). As far as the timing and evidence of the arrests are concerned, he did not provide any details.
According to a top counterterrorism official sitting beside Sanaullah during the press conference, Pakistan traced cash transactions worth more than $800,000 used to fund the cell. Indian money was proven to have originated from them, aa per the official. In an interview with Sanaullah, Saeed said that his family might have been targeted by the suicide bomber.
The Pakistani government arrested Saeed in 2019, and convicted him of numerous terrorism financing charges. Following his conviction in terror financing cases, the 72-year-old radical cleric is serving a jail sentence of 36 years at the high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty, has been convicted in five terror financing cases. The US Treasury Department has named Saeed as a specially designated global terrorist. In December 2008, he was named in the UN Security Council Resolution 1267, although he has never been tried for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
For decades, India has accused Pakistan of assisting Islamist extremists in attacks targeting its national security. Pakistan disputes this and accuses India of backing separatist insurgents based across the border. Furthermore, India has repeatedly demanded that it should be allowed to extradite Saeed to stand prosecution for his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks, but Pakistan has consistently refused.
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