Days after India called out Pakistan’s move to lodge 23 cases against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief as a bid to “hoodwink the international community”, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore granted pre-arrest bail to Hafiz Saeed, Dawn reported. Along with Saeed, three others were also granted the bail in a case pertaining to the outfit’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary.
Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza, and Malik Zafarhave been granted bail from arrest till August 31 against surety bonds of Rs 50,000 each. JuD’s counsel told that court that the outfit was not using any piece of land illegally.
Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to the Pakistan government, the Punjab (Pakistan) government and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on a plea moved by Saeed challenging the charges of terror financing. The court has given two weeks to the officials to respond.
CTD had said that on July 1 and 2, it registered 23 cases against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from terrorism financing through non-profit organisations.
Pakistan’s Punjab CTD had registered cases in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terror-financing through assets or properties in the names of trusts or non-profit organisations. “Large-scale investigations launched into financing matters of Jamat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba in connection with the implementation of UN sanctions against these designated entities and persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its meeting of 1st January 2019, chaired by PM Imran Khan, for implementing national action plan,” the CTD said in a statement reported by local media.
The decision to book Saeed and his outfit came days after the G-20 declaration at the Osaka summit on June 28-29 gave primacy to the FATF’s “essential role” and called for the effective implementation of its standards. On June 21, at the FATF plenary session in Orlando, the US (the then FATF chair) had told Pakistan that it could face blacklisting at its next session in October if it did not adhere to its commitments to stop access to funds for terror groups. The FATF once again takes up Pakistan’s case in September-October, and Pakistan’s action is being seen as a move to avoid being blacklisted