Hafiz Saeed: Background and activities, the mastermind behind 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, crimes and punishments and current status

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, born on June 5, 1950, is a Pakistani Islamist known for co-founding Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a militant organization designated as a terrorist group by various countries and international bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, and Russia. Saeed’s involvement in LeT, a militant group in South Asia, gained attention due to his leadership role and the organization’s activities, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks that resulted in the loss of 166 lives.

Hafiz Saeed: Background and Activities

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Hafiz Saeed is the leader of Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JuD), a wing of LeT, which has been involved in militant operations in Indian-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan. Experts agree that Saeed remains the overall head of both organizations, playing a strategic role in operational matters. His extremist views and involvement in LeT’s activities have led to his listing on India’s NIA Most Wanted and the US Department of the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

The Mastermind: Mumbai Attacks of 2008

The Mumbai attacks of 2008 were a series of coordinated shootings and bombings that took place in Mumbai, India, between November 26 and November 29, 2008. The attacks were carried out by 10 gunmen believed to be connected to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based terrorist organization. The attacks targeted civilians at numerous sites in the southern part of Mumbai, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, the Leopold Café, two hospitals, and a theatre. The most significant aspect was the prolonged siege at three locations where hostages were taken: the Nariman House, the Oberoi Trident, and the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. The attacks resulted in the death of at least 174 people, including 20 security force personnel and 26 foreign nationals, and left more than 300 people injured. Nine of the 10 terrorists were killed, and one was arrested. The lone arrested terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, provided information regarding the planning and execution of the attacks, revealing that the 10 terrorists underwent training in the camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba and spent time at the headquarters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa before traveling to Mumbai by sea.

Hafiz Saeed: Crimes and Punishments

Saeed has faced allegations of terrorism and terror financing, resulting in legal actions against him. In 2002, he was jailed for 31 years in Pakistan for terrorism financing, and in 2019, he was arrested and sentenced to an 11-year prison term, later extended by an additional 31 years for terror financing. Saeed has denied being a leader of LeT and has refuted allegations of planning attacks in India.

International Implications and Tensions

The Mumbai attacks were widely condemned by the international community, and there were calls to increase efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. The attacks led to increased tensions between India and Pakistan, with India accusing Pakistan of being involved in the attacks and demanding action against those responsible. In 2012, the United States announced a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed, who was accused of being the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks. In December 2023, India formally asked Pakistan to extradite Hafiz Saeed for trial in India. Saeed co-founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) armed group and is accused by India and the United States of being involved in the attacks on India’s financial hub, which killed 166 people. Saeed denies any involvement in the 2008 attacks.

Hafiz Saeed: Current Status

As of the latest information, Hafiz Saeed is imprisoned at Central Jail Lahore, Pakistan, following his arrest in July 2019. His incarceration is a development in the efforts to address terrorism and extremism in the region, particularly concerning his role in LeT and the Mumbai attacks. In conclusion, the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008 were a tragic event that had significant implications for India’s counterterrorism strategy and international relations. The attacks highlighted the need for improved coordination between authorities and security agencies, and led to the introduction of new institutions and legal mechanisms to combat terrorism. The mastermind behind the attacks, Hafiz Saeed, is currently in custody in Pakistan, facing trial in India for his role in the attacks.

is Hafiz Saeed poisoned?

Reports emerged on April 8th, 2024 that Hafiz Saeed had been poisoned by unknown men and admitted to Mayo Hospital in Lahore. However, there are no official details available on this alleged incident as of now.