An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Lahore city on Wednesday indicted Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed on terror financing charges, Dawn reported. Saeed, the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, is the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
During the proceedings, Saeed’s lawyer argued against the indictment. After the charges were filed, Judge Malik Arshad Bhutta summoned the prosecution’s witnesses. Then he adjourned proceedings till Wednesday, The Express Tribune reported. On Saturday, the court had delayed the formal filing of charges owing to unavailability of one of the suspects in a case registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department.
Thirteen leaders of the Jamaat were booked in July in almost two dozen cases of terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala district of Punjab province on July 17.
The Counter-Terrorism Department registered the cases in five cities in Punjab, and said the Jamaat was financing terrorism from the money collected through non-profit organisations and trusts such as Al-Anfal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust and others. These non-profit organisations had been banned in April.
The case against Saeed was transferred from a court in Gujranwala to Lahore in September after a court accepted Saeed’s request after he claimed there was a “threat to his life”.
In October, global terror financing and money laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force on Friday indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets it had set for the country. The task force also warned Pakistan it will be blacklisted if it fails to achieve the targets within four months.
The inter-governmental body sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally. In June, it asked Pakistan to complete an action plan on terror financing and urged Islamabad to meet the October 2019 deadline. In June 2018, Pakistan was put on its “grey list” and given the 27-point action plan.