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Monday April 22, 2024

Hafiz Saeed sentenced to 32 years for terror financing

By Numan Wahab
April 09, 2022
Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Photo: The News/File
 Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Photo: The News/File

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Friday sentenced the chief of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, to 32 years in two cases of terror financing.

The court convicted the JuD leader in cases (FIR No90 and 91/19), registered by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). He was booked under sections related 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 the benefit of 382 CrPC to the convict. On July 3, 2019, 13 leaders of the JuD were booked in cases of terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, found that the JuD was financing terrorism from 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. The non-profit organisations were banned in April 2019.

On July 17, Hafiz Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala on charges of terror financing by the Punjab CTD. Besides, 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 implicated 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 links to the defunct Al-Anfaal Trust, which was formed to build 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 31 have been decided while the rest are pending with the ATC courts. A total of seven cases have been concluded against JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.