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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Naya Pakistan: Hafiz Saeed has been indicted in terror financing case

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) indicted proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed. Has Pakistan conveyed a message to the FATF that it is serious to counter terror financing?

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday indicted proscribed Jamaat ud Daawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and other party leaders who were booked in July this year in multiple cases pertaining to alleged terror financing and money laundering. Saeed, along with the other accomplices, was presented before the court under strict security protocol. Hafiz Saeed’s arrest is said to be a political decision that may help the country to deal with its FATF’s battle.

According to details, after filing charges, the court summoned the prosecution’s witnesses. ATC-I Judge Malik Arshad Bhutta, who heard the case, adjourned proceedings until Thursday.

Earlier on Saturday, the court had delayed the indictment owing to the unavailability of one of the suspects in a case registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on charges of terror financing.

Hafiz Saeed Arrested

In July this year, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, had claimed that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organizations. Trusts included the Al-Anfal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc. The CTD has reliable evidence which can be brought in a court of law, an official stated.

The decision of Hafiz Saeed’s arrest was lauded by experts and analysts since it demonstrated the seriousness of the government to combat terror financing and extremism in Pakistan. It is believed that the government in Islamabad is serious to get out of the FATF’s gray list, therefore, it has initiated probe against the extremist elements at home.

Read more: JuD leader files petition in LHC to challenge FIRs against Hafiz Saeed

As a matter of fact, Pakistani law enforcement agencies have taken more than 40 members including senior leaders of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), into custody in March this year. Former Interior Minister of State Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi also said that nobody will be allowed to challenge the writ of the state.

“Crackdown against members of the banned outfit is part of the National Action Plan. 44 members of these have been arrested so far. Crackdown would continue against banned outfits involved in act of violence & terrorism. Pak has faced the longest war of terror & we r taking actions against it,” he tweeted.

It is worth noting that the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council has allowed Pakistan to let Jamaat ud Daawa chief Hafiz Saeed use his bank account for personal expenses. The decision a day before the Prime Minister of Pakistan is expected to raise the issue of Kashmir in the United Nations. Hafiz Saeed is currently in the custody of the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.

Moreover, Mr. Saeed is a UN-designated global terrorist. The US Department of Treasury has also declared him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has since 2012, offered a $10 million reward for his arrest. He was recently taken into custody after the government announced to counter “all” extremist elements in the country.

The government has announced to implement the NAP in letter and spirit. Authorities have banned some organizations and arrested several leaders and members of various organizations. Besides, several mosques and religious seminaries have been taken into the control of the state to regulate them.

Pakistan has announced to take action against all banned organizations operating in the country. According to details, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal announced issuance of the UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, which is in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan’s UNSC Act of 1948.

Read more: UN Security Council allows Hafiz Saeed to use frozen bank accounts

The government has also decided to take control over “All kinds of assets and properties of all [banned] organizations”. Pakistan has banned many organizations like Sipah-i-Sahaba (SSP), Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi and Jamat-ul-Ahrar in the past for their involvement in extremism and promotion of terrorism in the country.