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Pakistan Court Extends Pretrial Detention Of Alleged Mastermind Of Mumbai Attacks

FILE: Hafiz Saeed (R), the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, talks journalists in Rawalpindi in 2012.
FILE: Hafiz Saeed (R), the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, talks journalists in Rawalpindi in 2012.

A court in Pakistan has extended the pretrial detention of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

Pakistani authorities said on July 17 that they arrested Saeed, the radical Islamist leader accused of being involved in planning the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, on terrorism-financing charges.

Following his arrest, Saeed was placed in pretrial detention for seven days.

Saeed's arrest came just days before Prime Minister Imran Khan's trip to the United States, which has long accused Islamabad of providing safe havens for militant groups fighting in India and Afghanistan.

An anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala, a town near the eastern city of Lahore, on July 24 extended Saeed’s pretrial custody by 14 days while counterterrorism officials completed their investigation.

U.S. officials have long pressured Pakistan to try Saeed, who is designated a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations.

Saeed has been in and out of Pakistan prisons for years and even addressed public rallies.

U.S. and Indian officials have accused Saeed of helping plan the Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen rampaged through India's largest city, shooting up two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, and a train station during a siege that lasted several days.

India accused Pakistan of helping to organize the attacks in cooperation with Saeed, who is head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity.

U.S. officials say the group is a front for the banned Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan and Jamaat-ud-Dawa have denied involvement in the Mumbai attack.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Dawn