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Pakistan to Arrest Cleric Accused in Mumbai Attack

Pakistani police plan to arrest a hardline cleric accused by India in the Mumbai terror attacks on charges of raising funds for the banned Islamist group he heads, a senior officer said Friday.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed says his Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a charity that helps victims of natural disasters and the poor.

Pakistan banned the group after a U.N. resolution declared it was a front for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India and the United States believes carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Police officer Mohammed Tahir said Friday that two criminal cases had been filed against Saeed because he illegally held a public gathering and raised funds for Jamaat-ud-Dawa in the city of Faisalabad in Punjab province last month.

"We will definitely arrest him," Tahir told The Associated Press, without saying when.

A spokesman for Saeed said he had yet to be arrested and that he planned to consult with lawyers.

Lashkar, which Saeed helped establish in the late 1980s, is accused of sending the teams of gunmen that rampaged through Mumbai last November in an attack on luxury hotels, a busy train station and other sites. The three-day siege left 166 people dead.

Pakistan arrested Saeed in December after India provided a dossier of evidence in a rare sharing of intelligence. But in June, a Pakistani court freed Saeed from house arrest, saying there was not enough evidence to hold him.

India maintains he played a role in the attacks and has called on Pakistan to arrest him.

Lashkar is widely believed to have enjoyed the support of elements of Pakistan's security agencies in the 1980s and 1990s because it was sending militants to fight Indian-rule in Kashmir, which Pakistan also claims.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they were formed in 1947.