JuD chief and 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafeez Saeed arrested by Pakistan's Counter Terrorism Department
Islamabad,July 17 (IBNS): Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafeez Saeed, who is the key mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, was arrested by by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan and sent to prison, media reports said.
Saeed was on Wednesday arrested in connection with a terrorism financing case while on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala, officials of the Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department told Dawn News.
According to a spokesperson for CTD Punjab, Saeed was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC), reported the Pakistan-based newspaper.
The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation submit its chargesheet to the court.
Earlier, according to CTD sources, Saeed was arrested by CTD Punjab in the Gujranwala jurisdiction while he was on his way to an ATC in Gujranwala to seek bail, reported Dawn News.
Pakistani news channel Geo News reported that the arrest is part of the Government of Pakistan’s crackdown against outlawed organisations under the National Action Plan.
According to Dawn News,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, reported the newspaper.
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, reported Dawn News.
Advocate A.K. Dogar represented the petitioners and contended that the facts narrated in the impugned FIR registered on July 1, 2019 illegally described them as members of LeT and levelled unlawful allegations of terror financing.
The counsel referred to a 2009 judgement by an LHC full bench against the then detention of Hafiz Saeed and stated that the petitioners were not members of LeT.He said the LHC through another judgement issued in 2003 had also held that Hafiz Saeed left the leadership of LeT on Dec 24, 2001 while the organisation was banned on Jan 14, 2002, reported the newspaper.
The lawyer pleaded to the court that the government's claim that the petitioners were members of LeT stood disapproved in light of the two judgements.
He also asked the court to quash the impugned FIR lodged by the CTD for being unlawful and of no legal effect.
A government law officer opposed the petition and stated that it was not maintainable at this stage of the case. However, the bench comprising Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Waheed Khan directed the law officer to furnish written replies on behalf of the respondents by July 30, reported Dawn News.
Mohammad Ayub Sheikh, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Luqman Ali Shah, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Abdul Salam, Abdul Ghaffar and Abdul Qudoos Shahid are the other peitioners in the case.
According to Dawn News, on Monday, an ATC in Lahore had granted pre-arrest bail to the JuD chief and three others in a case pertaining to the outfit's alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, against surety bonds of Rs50,000 each.
Move before Imran Khan's US trip:
The arrest of the Mumbai attacks mastermind was made just days before Pakistan PM Imran Khan's scheduled visit to the US.
He is likely to hold talks with US President Donald Trump in Washington, reports said.
Since 2012, the United States has offered a U.S. $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice
India had in the past welcomed the decision of the global terror financing watchlist Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan in its "Grey list" and hoped that Islamabad will comply with the action plan and take credible measures to address international concerns on terrorism.
India has been seeking global action against Pakistan for allowing terror safe havens in its soil. It has also been insisting on the punishment of Pakistan-based terrorists involved in a series of attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.