Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has been "barred" by Pakistan's government from delivering the weekly Friday sermon at the headquarters of his terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa or JuD in Lahore in Pakistan's Punjab province.
This is perhaps for the first time in years that Hafiz Saeed, despite being present in Lahore, will not be able to deliver the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid Qadsia, the headquarters of the JuD.
Hafiz Saeed was never stopped from delivering Friday sermons even during the years when Masjid Qadsia's control was under Pakistan's Punjab government.
"As the Punjab police have sealed the Jamia Masjid Qadsia, Hafiz Saeed will not be allowed to enter the premises to give his weekly sermon on Friday," a senior official of the Punjab government told news agency Press Trust of India.
"Hafiz Saeed requested the Punjab government to allow him give sermon on Friday at Qadsia Masjid but it was turned down. This is significant with regard to his 'clout' as for the first time he is not being allowed by the government to give sermon on Friday," he added.
Pakistan authorities on Thursday claimed they have sealed the Lahore headquarters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and detained over 120 terrorists as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned terror groups.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba or LeT, which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people. JuD had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice.