Islamabad: Pakistan has arrested the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) Sajid Mir, after over a decade, as per the reports. The rumours of Mir’s arrest have circulated online but were never verified.

This comes amid Pakistan’s desire to extricate itself from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) international terror-financing watchlist. Currently, Pakistan is on the ‘Grey List’ of the watchdog for not fulfilling the parameters to counter terrorism in the country.

LeT is a United Nations-designated terrorist organization. Pakistan for years has been denying the presence of Mir and once even claimed that he was dead, reported Nikkei Asia. The man, Sajid Mir, is on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists, with a USD 5 million reward on his head.

He has been sought by both US and India for many years. In a conversation with the media portal, Pakistan’s former finance minister, Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan took measures against Mir and other designated terrorists that were “satisfactory” to the FATF.

Moreover, while speaking to Nikkei Asia, an FBI official on the condition of anonymity, said that Mir is “alive, in custody and has been sentenced” in Pakistan.

Another former Pakistani official who is aware of the case said the “Pakistanis have acknowledged to both India and to America that a man called Sajid Mir, who was wanted in connection with the Mumbai attacks, and whom Pakistan had long said was either dead or not locatable … they have actually found where he is.”

Pakistan’s response to the Mumbai attacks has been a series of about-turns. The country has failed to take adequate steps to counter-terrorism and prosecute terrorists including masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) founder Masood Azhar and LeT’s Sajid Mir, according to an earlier US report.

“Pakistan made limited progress on the most difficult aspects of its 2015 National Action Plan to counter-terrorism, specifically in its pledge to dismantle all terrorist organizations without delay or discrimination,” the US State Department had said in its 2020 Country Reports on Terrorism.

The report recalled how in February and again in November, 2021, a Lahore anti-terrorism court convicted LeT founder Hafiz Saeed on multiple counts of terrorism financing and sentenced him to five years and six months in prison.

“Pakistan did not, however, take steps under its domestic authorities to prosecute other terrorist leaders residing in Pakistan, such as JeM founder Masood Azhar and LeT’s Sajid Mir, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks,” it had said.

The report goes on the mention that Indian security agencies are effective in disrupting terror threats, although gaps remain in interagency intelligence and information sharing.

“The Indian Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) collaborates with the United States on exchanging terrorist screening information. In the absence of a National Counter-Terrorism Centre, the MAC conducts real-time collation and sharing of intelligence among federal and state security agencies,” the report said.

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