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Who was Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, Hafiz Saeed’s deputy and key planner of Mumbai terror attacks – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Abdul Salam Bhuttavi was a founding member of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist organization based in Pakistan that is responsible for several attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was also the deputy and acting head of LeT’s parent organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), led by Hafiz Saeed.
Bhuttavi was born in 1945 in Bhutta village of Punjab province in Pakistan.He received his religious education from various madrassas and became a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. He joined the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s and met Hafiz Saeed, who was then a lecturer at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore. Together, they founded LeT in 1987 as a militant wing of Markaz Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), a religious organization that later renamed itself as JuD.
Bhuttavi was one of the key ideologues and strategists of LeT and JuD. He was involved in the planning, financing, facilitating, and executing of several terrorist attacks in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. He was also in charge of LeT’s madrassa network, where he indoctrinated and trained young recruits for jihad. He issued fatwas authorizing suicide attacks and martyrdom operations against India and other perceived enemies of Islam.
Bhuttavi played a crucial role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He helped prepare the 10 attackers for the operation by delivering lectures on the merits of martyrdom and the targets to be hit. He also supervised the training camps where the attackers received weapons and explosives training. He was in constant contact with the attackers during the attack, giving them instructions and encouragement through phone calls.
Bhuttavi was designated as a terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2012 for being associated with al-Qaeda and LeT. He was also wanted by India for his involvement in the Mumbai attacks and other terrorist activities. He was arrested by Pakistan in 2019 along with Hafiz Saeed and other JuD leaders under the pressure of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that monitors money laundering and terror financing. He was sentenced to 78 years in prison in 2020. He died of a heart attack in a jail in Sheikhupura in Pakistan’s Punjab province. His death has been confirmed by the UNSC portal when it recently updated its information about him.
Bhuttavi was considered as the second-in-command of LeT and JuD after Hafiz Saeed. He was instrumental in shaping the ideology and strategy of LeT and JuD, which aimed to establish an Islamic state in South Asia and liberate Kashmir from India. He was one of the most wanted terrorists in India and a major security threat to the region.

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