A Pakistani court on Monday granted the request of Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed to transfer a terrorism financing case against him from a court in Gujranwala district of Punjab province to a court in Lahore, PTI reported. The court accepted Saeed’s request on the basis of his claim that there is a “threat to his life”.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief had been arrested on terror financing charges on July 17. The police had booked the top 13 leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, in nearly 24 cases of terror financing and money laundering before arresting Saeed.
On Monday, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sardar Shamim Ahmed accepted Saeed’s petition seeking transfer of the case to Lahore, after the government lawyer raised no objection to it.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba founder’s advocate AK Dogar said his client is kept at Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore but taken to Gujranwala for every hearing before an anti-terrorism court. Gujranwala is about 80 kilometres from Lahore. Dogar said shifting Saeed from Lahore to either Gujranwala or Gujrat anti-terrorism courts may lead to a threat to his life. The lawyer added that the government has to make elaborate security arrangements whenever Saeed is transported.
Saeed had also filed a petition against his arrest. On September 25, Ahmed had transferred Saeed’s petition from a two-member bench of the Lahore High Court to another two-member bench.
On July 3, the Counter-Terrorism Department had registered 23 cases against Saeed and 12 accomplices for using five trusts to “funnel funds to terror suspects”. The Counter Terrorism Department filed the cases in five cities of Punjab province. It alleged that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa was financing terrorism from funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts such as Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In August, the Counter-Terrorism Department declared Saeed guilty of terror financing.
In March, Pakistan had added Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation to its list of proscribed organisations. Pakistan’s action came a week after Indian Air Force jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot region of Pakistan, in retaliation for an attack on a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force jawans in Pulwama, which killed at least 40. Following the attack, there had been international pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorism.
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