2008 Mumbai Attacks
The United Nations Security Council has officially confirmed the death of Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, a founding member of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and a significant conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. According to the UN statement, Bhuttavi passed away due to cardiac arrest on May 29 while in the custody of the Pakistani government in Murdike city, located in Punjab Province. He was serving a jail sentence in Pakistan at the time of his demise.
Born in 1940, Bhuttavi held the position of deputy to Lashkar-e-Taiba’s founder, Hafeez Saeed. Saeed, also the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, is considered to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba and played a crucial role in the group’s operational and fundraising activities.
Bhuttavi, described by the UN as a “preeminent scholar,” had taken charge of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s daily operations on at least two occasions when Saeed was detained. Notably, he was at the helm following the 2008 Mumbai attacks on November 26, which resulted in the tragic loss of at least 150 lives.
The UN highlighted Bhuttavi’s role in instructing leaders and members of both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, issuing fatwas sanctioning their operations, and overseeing the network of madrasas associated with the groups. In 2002, he played a pivotal role in establishing Lashkar-e-Taiba’s administrative base in Lahore.
The global agency also revealed that Bhuttavi had actively contributed to preparing operatives for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist assault by delivering lectures on the merits of martyrdom operations.
Last year in May, organizations linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba shared a video purportedly showing Bhuttavi’s funeral at the militant group’s center in Murdike, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
The UN designated Bhuttavi as a terrorist in 2012, citing his association with Al-Qaeda and his involvement in acts or activities by Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Security Council’s confirmation adds another chapter to the complex history of individuals linked to terror organizations.
The UN also confirmed that Hafeez Saeed, wanted in India for his role in various cases, is currently serving a 78-year prison sentence in Pakistan, following his conviction in 2019 on seven terror financing cases. In December, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs requested the extradition of Saeed to face trial in India, citing his involvement in multiple cases.
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