By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s police have arrested chief of banned organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in connection with terror-financing cases.
According to a spokesperson for CTD Punjab, Saeed was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in central Punjab town of Gujranwala on Wednesday.
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.
Saeed was arrested by CTD Punjab in the Gujranwala jurisdiction while he was on his way to an ATC in Gujranwala to seek bail.
On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 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.
These non-profit organisations were banned in April by Pakistan government as 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/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.
On Monday, a Lahore High Court division bench sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition filed by JuD chief Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has hailed the arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.
Trump, who didn’t name Saeed, said in a tweet: “After a ten-year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!”
Trump’s tweet comes days before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s scheduled visit to Washington on July 22.
The US Treasury Department branded the LeT chief a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in May 2008 and in December 2008, the United Nations also designated him a “terrorist individual”. Both designations blamed him for the November 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people, including six American citizens, were killed.
Since 2012, the United States has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
By Muhammad Luqman