LAHORE     -  Head of the proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, an irritant for the Western world because of his Jehadist activities, was arrested on Wednesday and within no time sent to jail on a seven-day judicial remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala.

A spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department said the arrest was made in connection with a pending terrorism financing case against the JuD head.

Hafiz Saeed was on way from Lahore to Gujranwala to seek pre-arrest bail in the pending case when the CTD arrested him. It was also the CTD that produced him before the anti-terrorism court for remand.

The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.

The action is important as it took place only a few days before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to the United States, during which he is also scheduled to meet President Trump on July 22 and discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral interest.

Interestingly, President Trump welcomed arrest of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed , saying ‘great pressure’ was exerted over Islamabad in the last two years to find the ‘mastermind’ of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The US has placed a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed .

"After a 10-year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!" Trump said in a tweet.

The JuD leader has been shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.

Hafiz Saeed 's spokesman Nadim Awan denounced the arrest and said the cleric had dissociated himself from Lashker-e-Taiba in 2001 and has had no links with the organisation since then. Lashker-e-Taiba was banned in 2002.

Mr Awan said they would challenge the arrest before a higher court.

Until the terror financing case, Saeed had for months lived freely in Pakistan, often addressing anti-India rallies for which he became popular amid a dramatic confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals earlier this year.

His two charities were banned in February last year, and the government froze their assets in compliance with a UN request.

The Supreme Court last September allowed them to resume operations only to be banned again earlier this year under a government action plan against terrorism and extremism.

Previously, Saeed had been detained several times, along with close aides, but had not been charged or put on trial.

He was taken into custody in January last year and kept under house arrest for 11 months until a court order ended his detention in November. He was also detained in 2001 and 2008, when he was kept confined to a government-run house and at his home.

In recent months, the government also took over schools, mosques, seminaries and all properties linked to Hafiz Saeed 's charities and froze their assets.

It may be recalled that on July 3, top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

These non-profit organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.

On Monday, a Lahore High Court division bench sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition filed by JuD chief Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.