After filing charges over 'terror financing' in difference cities, Pakistan's anti-terrorism court granted pre-arrest bail to Mumbai 26/11 terror attack and Jamat-ud Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his three aides pertaining to their illegal use of land for its seminary.
The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore granted interim bail to Saeed and his aides - Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza, and Malik Zafar - until August 31 against surety bonds of Rs 50,000 each, a Pakistani newspaper reported.
During the hearing, Saeed's counsel insisted that banned outfit, JuD was not using any piece of land illegally urged the court to accept bail pleas.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for perpetrating the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.,
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Under pressure from the international community led by India, Pakistani authorities have launched investigations into matters of the JuD, LeT and the FIF regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing.
Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to the federal government, the Punjab government and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) regarding a petition filed by Saeed and his seven aides, challenging charges of terror financing and money laundering against them.
In the petition, Saeed denied any association with LeT or Al Qaeda.
He said, "Hafiz Saeed and other (petitioners) are not members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as per the (earlier) judgment of the LHC. The petitioners have no nexus with LeT or Al-Qaeda. They belong to JuD and they are not involved in any terrorist activity and they are only working for social welfare like 'Edhi' and more than that they are also educating the poor and the needy," the petition said.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police on July 3 registered 23 FIRs against 13 leaders of the JuD including Saeed on the charges of "terror financing" in different cities of Punjab province. However, despite the Punjab Police's claim that all those nominated in the terror financing FIRs will be arrested, no action has been taken against them so far.
Calling out the crackdown a sham, the Centre last week said that it has seen such moves from the neighbouring country before, say sources. The sources added that the Centre has said that Pakistan's action against terror must be irreversible and verifiable.
(With PTI inputs)