A Pakistani anti-terrorism court accepted the plea of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to club all the pending cases and announce the verdict together. The court had reserved its verdict on February 6 and decided to pronounce the judgement on February 8 but the Mumbai terror attack mastermind filed a petition to delay the verdict till the other pending cases get concluded.
“The anti-terrorism court of Lahore accepted the plea of Saeed and his close aides seeking delay in the verdict in two concluded terror-financing cases against them till the trial in other four such pending cases is complete,” said a court official.
Saeed was charged for terror financing and money laundering under Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, after the CTD registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices. He was presented in an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on December 20 where he had pleaded ‘not guilty’. Saeed was indicted again in another case by an anti-terrorism court after a case was filed by Punjab's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Gujranwala district for terror-financing.
Saeed and his aides are accused of collecting funds for terrorism through assets held in the names of Non-Profit Organisations. The CTD said that they have committed multiple offences of terror-financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Jamat-ud-Dawa is believed to the main organisation behind the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 which killed 166 people including six Americans. The JUD chief was moving freely in Pakistan for a long time but the sanctions by the global terror financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) forced the country to arrest him and expedite the case.
While Pakistan government has been desperate to expedite the case ever since FATF put the country on the grey list, the latest development is being considered as a delaying tactic from Saeed as well as the government. Pakistan has been facing difficulties in accessing financial assistance after it was placed on the ‘Grey List’ by the FATF.
(With PTI inputs)