Hafiz Saeed, 26/11 mastermind, charged with terror financing in Pakistan court
Hafiz Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Gujranwala, some 80-km from Lahore, in high security where he was charge-sheeted of terror financing by the CTD of Punjab police.
Formal charges of terror financing were filed against Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed in a court in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Wednesday, just before the case was transferred to another court due to reasons of jurisdiction, people familiar with the development said.
Hafiz Saeed, a UN designated terrorist, was presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Gujranwala, some 80 km from Lahore, amid tight security. He continues to be in custody and has not been freed, sources have said.
“Since the case is related to Mandi Bhauddin district of Punjab therefore the prosecution requested the court to shift it to Gujrat ATC court (some 200-km from Lahore),” a counter-terrorism department official said. Next hearing of the case will be in the Gujrat ATC.
Hafiz Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind, was arrested on July 17 over charges of terror financing. Saeed is being kept at the high security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Lashkar chief to justice.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. He was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
The CTD on July 3 registered 23 FIRs against 13 JuD leaders, including Saeed, on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province.
Since the Imran Khan government has taken control, the JuD and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) properties, including seminaries and mosques, across the country have been under scanner following immense international pressure after Pulwama attack in which 44 Indian soldiers were killed.
The Pakistani government had also arrested the JuD’s second-in-command Abdul Rehman Makki, who is brother-in-law of Saeed, on the charges of making a public speech and terror financing charges.
The CTD said it booked Hafiz Saeed and his 12 aides for ‘terror financing’ in 23 cases after “irrefutable evidence” against them was detected.
The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala & Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/ Non Profit Organisations (NPO) including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.
The CTD said investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations -- JuD and LeT -- in connection with implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities & Persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its Meeting of January 1, 2019, chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.
“These suspects made assets from funds of terrorism financing. They held & used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing & money laundering under Anti Terrorism Act 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (Anti Terrorism Courts) for commission of these offences,” the CTD said.
Makki, MaliK Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Naeem Sh, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar are other suspects. The other suspects reported to have been hiding since the government took over the properties of these organisations.