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Pakistan Puts Leading Figure In 2008 Mumbai Attacks Under House Arrest


Hafiz Saeed, left, head of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, prays during a rally to mark Black Day, in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 19, 2016.

Pakistan authorities said they have ordered the house arrest of a leading figure who allegedly was behind the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

The move on January 30 against Hafiz Saeed came after years of pressure from the United States and India and could ease rising tensions with New Delhi, which has expressed rage over Saeed's continued freedom.

"These orders have come from Washington," the cleric told reporters in Lahore, vowing to fight the move in court.

The United States has put a $10 million bounty on Saeed's head. Saeed leads a popular Muslim charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which Washington says is a front for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters that Islamabad is feeling pressure from Washington, although it has received no direct communication from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

"Trump is taking hard decisions against Muslim countries. There is open talk of actions against Pakistan also. So yes, this was a consideration," said the official.

Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai killings by 10 gunmen in a bloody assault on luxury hotels, a train station, and Jewish center. But he was released six months later and has operated openly since then.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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