Pakistan arrests four aides of alleged mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks

Pakistan has arrested four aides of extremist leader Hafiz Saeed. (Reuters)
Updated 10 October 2019

Pakistan arrests four aides of alleged mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks

  • Pakistan, included on a so-called grey list compiled by the FATF, has been under increasing pressure to stop the financing of militant groups
  • Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people

LAHORE: Pakistani authorities on Thursday arrested four aides of extremist leader Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of a four-day militant attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, on terrorism financing charges, counter-terrorism police said.
Saeed, arrested on the same charges, has been on judicial remand since July, a move welcomed by U.S. President Donald Trump who wants Pakistan to do more to crack down on militancy.
But Saeed's arrest came just ahead of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Imran Khan and was seen by rival India as a ploy to smooth the way before a meeting with Trump.
Thursday's arrests come ahead of a meeting next week of the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, which will review progress made by Pakistan on controlling terror financing and money laundering.
Pakistan, included on a so-called grey list compiled by the FATF, has been under increasing pressure to stop the financing of militant groups.
The four aides will appear before a trial court on Friday, police said in a statement.
Saeed, designated a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations, is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, or Army of the Pure, the militant group blamed by the United States and India for the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people.
The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed's conviction.
He has denied any involvement and said his network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, has no ties to militant groups.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 15 November 2019

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.