MULTAN, Pakistan — Pakistan's counter-terrorism police on Thursday arrested two suspected militants on charges of collecting funds for outlawed charities of a radical cleric wanted by Washington for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
According to a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Department, the two men were captured in a raid from a remote village in Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province. The suspects were collecting funds for Hafiz Saeed's outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat charities, suspected of being fronts for the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Saeed is the founder and chief of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed by neighboring India for the Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 166 people. He is serving a 5 1/2-year prison sentence since February, after being convicted of financing terrorism. He has denied sponsoring terrorism.
The development comes weeks after Pakistan's parliament passed bills to meet goals set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, an anti-terrorism monitoring group, in February. The goals included targeting individuals linked to money laundering and terror financing.
Islamabad hopes the legislation will help Pakistan get off the task force's "gray list," the color code for countries that are only partially fulfilling international rules for fighting terrorism financing and money laundering.
Pakistan was placed on the list in 2018. It expects that once removed from the watchlist, the country's declining economy could revive.
Since gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought three wars, two of them over the contested Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is split between the two nations but claimed by both in its entirety.