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UNSC confirms death of Lashkar founder and Hafiz Saeed's deputy Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi

Bhuttavi, serving as the acting emir of LeT/JuD during Saeed's detainments, played a role in preparing terrorists for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Despite being 77, he was incarcerated since his sentencing in a 2019 terror financing case, receiving a 16-year prison term

UNSC confirms death of Lashkar founder and Hafiz Saeed's deputy Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi
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First Published Jan 12, 2024, 10:02 AM IST

The death of Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, one of the founding members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and deputy to the outfit's chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, has been officially confirmed in a recent update on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) portal. Earlier, reports of the UN-designated terrorist's demise due to a 'sudden cardiac arrest' in May had circulated, but given Pakistan's military-intelligence complex's history of floating rumours to shield high-profile terrorists, there was initial uncertainty.

Sources reveal that despite records indicating Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's denial of permission, he allegedly attended the funeral of his trusted aide. Saeed, who is supposed to be in prison, has been a key figure in the LeT organization. Bhuttavi had served as the acting emir of LeT/JuD on multiple occasions when Saeed faced detainment, effectively managing the group's day-to-day operations.

Bhuttavi played a crucial role in preparing terrorists for the infamous 26/11 Mumbai attacks by delivering lectures on the merits of 'martyrdom' operations. Despite being 77 years old, he had been incarcerated in a jail near Lahore since his sentencing in a terror financing case in October 2019. An anti-terrorism court in Lahore had sentenced Bhuttavi to 16 years in prison.

Notably, Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi faced sanctions from the US Treasury Department in 2011, and the UN Security Council's ISIL (Daesh) and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee had designated him as a terrorist in 2012. Intelligence officers state that he was designated for his involvement in "participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating terrorist activities."

Described as a prominent speaker for LeT/JuD, Bhuttavi was known for issuing fatwas authorizing operations and was responsible for running LeT/JuD's madrassa network. In mid-2002, he played a pivotal role in establishing a LeT organizational base in Lahore, Pakistan, according to the information available on the UN Security Council listing.

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