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Hafiz Saeed convicted by Pak court in 2 terror-financing cases, gets 11 years in jail

A Pakistani court on Wednesday convicted 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed in two separate terror-financing cases and awarded him five and half years imprisonment in each case. 

Both prison terms will run concurrently. The cases have no relation with the Mumbai attack of 2008. 

Saeed is a UN-designated terrorist with a US $10 million bounty on his head placed by the United States.  

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief was charged in December last year by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore in a terror funding case. The terror mastermind was indicted in the financing through five shell organisations.

Earlier in July 2019, as many as 27 FIRs were registered against Hafiz Saeed and others by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan's police over charges of terror funding following which the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief was arrested.

Saeed was arrested on July 17 in the terror financing cases and has been lodged at the Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail in high security.

A court official confirmed that Saeed was sentenced in two terror financing cases registered against him in Lahore and Gujranwala cities on the application of the CTD of Punjab police.

The court sentenced Saeed to five and a half years and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case.

Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

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. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. 

What are the cases?

The anti-terrorism court or ATC had indicted Saeed and his close aides on December 11 in the terror financing cases.

Last Saturday, Lahore ATC judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta deferred the verdict against Saeed in two terror financing cases till February 11.

In the two cases, the prosecution produced some 20 or so witnesses in the ATC who testified against Saeed and his close aides for their involvement in terror financing. Saeed pleaded "not guilty" in both cases.

The CTD had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province.

The cases were registered against Saeed and others in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/Non Profit Organisations including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

According to the CTD, investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations - JuD and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) - in connection with implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities and Persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its meeting of January 1, 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.

"These suspects made assets from funds of terrorism financing. They held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing and money laundering under Anti Terrorism Act 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (Anti Terrorism Courts) for commission of these offences," the CTD said.

The crackdown on Saeed's outfit last year followed a warning by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.

Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

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. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. 

(With PTI inputs)

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