13 leaders of JuD including Hafiz Saeed booked in terror financing, money laundering

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LAHORE: At a time when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to talk with US President Donald Trump in Washington, top 13 leaders of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), including its chief Hafiz Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, have been booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The US, which has pressured Pakistan to crack down on militant groups, has offered a $10 million reward for evidence leading to Saeed’s conviction.

The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

These organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.

Finally, 23 FIRs were registered against JuD leaders at the CTD police stations of Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad and Sargodha on July 1 and 2.

Besides the top two JuD leaders, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Dr Ahmad Daud, Dr Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Mohammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were also booked in the cases.

“Formal investigations on a large scale have been launched against the top leadership of the JuD for terror financing after the registration of FIRs against them during the last two days,” said a spokesperson for the CTD, Punjab.

According to the official, substantial and irreversible punitive/ legal action has been taken against them by the state, making these organisations “fully dysfunctional”.

He explained that action was taken against them in connection with implementation of UN sanctions imposed on the JuD, Lashkar-i-Taiba and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) besides their designated entities and leadership as directed by the National Security Committee (NSC) in January 2019 under the National Action Plan.

The CTD took some months to collect evidence against the banned organisations regarding terror financing and assets/properties which had already been seized by the state. “These assets/non-profit organisations have already been taken over by the government in compliance with UN sanctions,” he added. The spokesperson said the suspects had committed multiple offences of terror financing and money laundering and would be prosecuted in anti-terrorism courts.