Pakistani militant leader placed under house arrest

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The terrorist leader, who has been slapped with United Nations sanctions and carries a bounty of $10 million on his head, and four others were detained in Lahore on Monday night in what the Pakistan Army said was "a policy decision" taken in the "national interest".

The detention order was issued by Punjab Province's Interior Ministry on Monday, in pursuance to a directive from the Federal Interior Ministry on January 27.

Saeed founded LeT in the 1990s but later distanced himself from it. Four other JuD followers were detained in the same operation.

The rare army statement signifies that the Pakistan government and the military are on the same page regarding the strategy to be adopted towards militant and terror outfits that for years were used by the military establishment as proxy forces against India.

The speakers criticised the government for putting Hafiz Saeed under house arrest under the U.S. pressure, saying the arrest of JuD leader was part of a conspiracy to sabotage the struggle for the right to self-determination of people of Indian-occupied Kashmir. Only a credible crackdown on the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack and terrorist organisations involved in cross border terrorism would be proof of Pakistan's sincerity, ” MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup said.

Saeed has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Mumbai killings or support for terrorist activities.

Pakistan's military has always been accused of sponsoring LeT and other anti-India militants, a charge it rejects.

In the past decade, the group has provided aid to those hit by natural disasters, and in some areas where the government has failed to provide basic necessities, JuD has worked to fill the void.

The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed.

"This is taking place because of Modi's insistence, Trump's pressure and Pakistan's helplessness", Saeed told the media late on Monday as he was being led away.

According to an order by the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan, at least four JuD members have also been placed in "preventative detention". "We are planning further rallies across the country in protest of this action", Waleed said, adding that Saeed's house arrest is for 19 days. "This government has buckled under the pressure", he said.

"If they believe that they can throw the Kashmir issue into the background through our arrests and our confinement, that is not possible", he said after his arrest.

India has been demanding action against Saeed since the Mumbai raid by 10 gunmen from Pakistan, who infiltrated the city by boat and killed 166 people in a rampage that included attacks on two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a train station.

But critics say it has targeted only militants who attack its own state, not those active in neighboring Afghanistan and India, such as the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani network and LeT.

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