News Desk |
A petition has been submitted in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday, to retract the First Information Reports (FIR) launched against Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and 65 other individuals.
The Lahore High Court is set to listen to the petition submitted by a senior Jamaat-ud Dawa leader, Malik Zafar Iqbal, on 22nd August, Thursday. The petition has included multiple parties, including federal government, Punjab government, and the regional headquarter of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
As per the petition submitted by Malik Zafar Iqbal, who has also been nominated in the FIRs, the 23 FIRs registered against Hafiz Saeed and others nominate them as members of the proscribed organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was “factually and legally incorrect.”
Factually & Legally Incorrect
The petition argued that the 23 FIRs have been registered “without lawful authority” and have “no legal effect” as the property targeted in the FIRs was a mosque and was being used for religious purposes. The petition noted that the property in question “is not and has not ever (sic) been used for terror financing as there is no tangible evidence on record to support such bold (sic) allegations”.
These non-profit organizations and trust were proscribed in April this year, when the Counter-Terrorism Department conducted a detailed investigation, revealing links with the Jamaat-ud Dawa and its senior leadership.
The petition has been filed by one of the aggrieved individuals, Malik Zafar Iqbal, while the others nominated in the FIRs were regarded as proforma respondents. The petition argued that labelling the petitioner as the leader of the banned militant organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is “factually and legally incorrect”.
The petition has requested the Lahore High Court to declare that none of the petitioners and the pro-forma respondents are associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is why the FIRs registered against them have no “lawful authority and no legal effect.”
2009 Verdict by LHC
Malik Zafar Iqbal stated that in its 2009 verdict against Hafiz Saeed, a full bench of the Lahore High Court had stated that Saeed and other accused were not members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). He noted that the federal and provincial governments had later challenged the verdict of Lahore High Court in the Supreme Court. The verdict was upheld by the apex court.
Read more: Terror financing and terrorism: Hafiz Saeed and 12 others booked
The petitioner quoted the verdict observed by the Lahore High Court, stating, “Even after the perusal of the said documents we do not find any material declaring that the detention was necessary for the security of the petitioners and there is no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al-Qaeda or any terrorist movement which could endanger the security of Pakistan except for the bald allegations being leveled by the Indian lobby that they are involved in Mumbai attacks, but there is no such evidence or even any linkage borne out from the said documents against the petitioners. There is also no such evidence declaring that the petitioners are involved in anti-state activities and (are a) security risk.”
The petitioner stated that Hafiz Saeed and the other JuD leaders have been “illegally” booked and detained after a resolution passed by the United Nations. Iqbal maintained that Jamaat-ud Dawa is not associated with any terrorism financing activities, and is an organization dedicated for public welfare and poverty alleviation, much like the Edhi Foundation. He also noted that the Jamaat-ud Dawa was also involved in providing education to poor children.
JuD Leaders Booked for Money Laundering and Terror Financing
On 3rd July, 13 senior leaders of the proscribed Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), including Hafiz Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked under 20 FIRs on grounds of money laundering and terror financing under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The CTD accused the senior leadership of Jamaat-ud Dawa of financing terrorism by amassing massive properties and assets using the funds collected across Pakistan.
Aside from Hafiz Saeed and Rehman Makki, other Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) leaders, including Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Naeem, Dr. Ahmad Daud, Abdul Raqeeb, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohsin Bilal, Dr. Mohammad Ayub, Mohammad Ali, and Abdul Ghaffar, amongst others, have also been booked in the FIRs.
The cases have been registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in five different cities across Punjab, accusing the Jamaat-ud Dawa of terror financing from the mammoth funds collected through trusts and non-profit organizations, including the Dawat-ul Irshad Trust, Anfaal Trust, and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust amongst others.
These non-profit organizations and trust were proscribed in April this year, when the Counter-Terrorism Department conducted a detailed investigation, revealing links with the Jamaat-ud Dawa and its senior leadership. The CTD accused the senior leadership of Jamaat-ud Dawa of financing terrorism by amassing massive properties and assets using the funds collected across Pakistan.
Read more: Hafiz Saeed arrested on terror finance charges
On 17th July, Hafiz Saeed was arrested in a case of terror financing while he was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore.