LAHORE, Dec 11:Hafiz Saeed, the Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of the banned JuD, was indicted on Wednesday by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court here along with three of his close aides on terror financing charges.
The anti-terrorism court (ATC) Lahore indicted Saeed, Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal in the presence of the accused. ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta directed the prosecution to produce witnesses and adjourned the hearing till Thursday.
“Saeed and his aides’ lawyers made their arguments requesting the court not to indict their clients,” a court official told PTI after the hearing which was held amid tight security.
“Deputy Prosecutor General Punjab Abdur Rauf, pleading for framing the charges against the accused, said Saeed and others are involved in terror financing case and the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab police has presented evidence for it,” the official said.
The official said the accused were also provided the copies of the chargesheet. Like the previous hearings, journalists were not allowed to enter the court premises to cover the proceedings.
On December 7, the ATC could not indict Saeed, 69, and others as one of the co-accused, Zafar Iqbal, was not produced before the court.
The Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police on July 17 registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province and arrested Saeed. He is detained at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail here.
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.
According to the CTD, investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations—Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) — in connection with implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities & Persons as directed by the NSC (National Security Committee) in its meeting on January 1, 2019 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 and money laundering under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs for commission of these offences,” the CTD said.
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 Saeed to justice.
Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans. (PTI)