Hafiz Saeed, the founder and leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and the mastermind behind the 4-day rampage in Mumbai, India, has been indicted by the Pakistani court on Wednesday. As per a government prosecutor and defence lawyer, the anti-terrorism court in Lahore charged Saeed with terrorism financing. He denied the charges by saying that his network which spans across schools, hospitals, ambulance services, and a publishing house has no connection with any militant group.
The rampage that happened in Mumbai killed 160 people including foreign nationals. Saeed and LeT or the Army of the Pure is blamed for the incident by the Indian and the US government. The counter-terrorism forces from Pakistan arrested Saeed in July a few days before the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Washington.
Saeed and three other leaders of JuD were arrested
Hafiz Saeed was arrested and released several times in the past few years. The world watchdog of terrorism Financial Action Task Force (FATF), would be meeting early next year to discuss whether to blacklist Pakistan for not reducing the financing of terrorism happening in the country.
Washington had pressured Pakistan to try Saeed and had offered a reward of $10 million for information leading to the conviction of Saeed. He is deemed as a terrorist by the United Nations and the US.
Dawn reported that Saeed was arrested along with others who were suspected of funding terrorist activities in July. The court had delayed the procedure on Saturday saying that there was a suspect who was not present in the hearing of the charges on terrorism funding and money laundering under the case filed by the Counter-Terrorism Department. Top three leaders of terrorist organization Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) were booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 in July.
Court summoned witnesses ahead of FATF discussions
According to prosecutor Abdur Rauf Wattoo the court ordered the prosecution team to summon the witnesses to pursue the case. He also said that the CTD had lodged a case against Saeed for illegal funding. His defence lawyer confirmed that Hafiz Saeed and Zafar Iqbal, another official associated with JuD, the humanitarian arm of LeT, has been indicted following the court hearing.