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Pressure from US, China behind LeT founder Hafiz Saeed's house arrest?

Rising pressure from several quarters, including the US and China, led to Pakistan taking steps to curtail the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed.

Late on Monday night, a large police team surrounded Jamaat-ud-Dawah's headquarters at Jamia Masjid al-Qadsia in the Chowburji area of Lahore as Saeed was holding a meeting with his aides. Orders issued by the federal interior ministry had directed the home department of Punjab province to place Saeed and four of his aides in "preventive detention".

Reports say that Saeed will be held at his residence at Johar Town area of Lahore for three months. There were also reports of a police contingent being deployed at the JuD's 'markaz' (centre) at Muridke on the outskirts of Lahore.

The US had offered a $10 million bounty for Saeed in April 2012 but the move did not put a leash on his activities as he continued to address rallies while the JuD and its front organisations continued their fund-raising and recruitment.

The Hindustan Times reports that some in Islamabad believe the action taken on Monday was simply aimed at relieving growing pressure on Pakistan from the US and even China to crack down on wanted terrorists and to fulfil international obligations, including sanctions imposed by the Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

"The organisation has been under observation since 2010-11. Since it has also been listed by the UN Security Council (sanctions committee), we are bound to take some steps and we are taking those steps to fulfil our obligations," Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had told reporters on Monday afternoon.