The anti-terrorism court also indicts Saeed’s three top aides Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal on terror financing charges
HAFIZ Saeed, the Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of the banned JuD, was indicted on Wednesday by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court here on terror financing charges, amidst intense international pressure on Islamabad to bring him to justice. The anti-terrorism court (ATC) Lahore indicted Saeed and three of his top aides Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal on terror financing charges. ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta directed the prosecution to produce the witnesses and adjourned the hearing till Thursday. Saeed, 69, along with the other accused, were presented before the court under tight security.
“Saeed and his aides’ lawyers made their arguments requesting the court not to indict their clients,” a court official told PTI after the hearing. “Deputy Prosecutor General Punjab Abdur Rauf, pleading for framing the charges against the accused said that Saeed and others are involved in terror financing case and the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab police has presented evidence for it,” the official said. The official said that the accused were also provided copies of chargesheet.
Like the previous hearings, journalists were not allowed to enter the court premises to cover the proceedings. Saeed is detained at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail here. On December 7, the ATC could not indict Saeed, and others as one of the co-accused, Zafar Iqbal, was not produced before the court by the authorities. Saeed’s indictment comes amidst growing international pressure on Pakistan to rein-in terror groups operating from its soil and bring to justice terror group leaders like Saeed.