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Hafiz Saeed awarded 15-year jail in terror financing case

By Numan Wahab
December 25, 2020

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) Thursday convicted the chief of a banned organisation, Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and five other group leaders in another case of terror financing and terrorism.

The court of Aijaz Ahmad Butter awarded Hafiz Saeed, Hafiz Abul Islam Bin Muhammad, Professor Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Ashraf, Yahya Mujahid 15 years jail term, along with Rs20,000 fine, each.

Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki was awarded six months imprisonment.

The court convicted the JuD leaders in a case [FIR No 32/19], registered by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). The convicts were booked under sections 11-F(2), 11-N, 11-I, 11-J and others of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The sections relate to being a member of a banned outfit and supporting and arranging meetings of a proscribed organisation, illegal fundraising and buying properties with the raised funds. The court also extended benefit of 382 CrPC to the convicts.

According to details of the cases against the JuD leaders, on July 3, 2019, the top 13 leaders of the JuD were booked in multiple cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 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.

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 and properties from the collected funds in Pakistan. These non-profit organisations were banned in April 2019.

Later, on July 17, Hafiz Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala on charges of terror financing by the Punjab CTD. Besides, the top JuD leaders, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Dr Ahmad Daud, Dr Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Mohammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were booked.

However, the JuD leaders claim that they have been nominated in the cases by wrongly attributing them as leaders of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). According to the counsel for the JuD leaders, his clients had quit the LeT before the organisation was banned in 2002. The counsel argued that the cases against his clients had been made on the basis of a link to defunct

Al-Anfaal Trust, which was formed to construct mosques in the country. Five cases against Hafiz Saeed have been decided so far. A total of 41 cases have been registered by the CTD against the JuD leaders, out of which 26 have been decided while the rest are pending with the ATC courts.