Lahore, September 30: The Lahore High Court on Monday allowed a plea by Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to shift a terrorism financing case against him from a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court to one here in Pakistan's Punjab province, citing security reasons, according to a media report. On July 17, Saeed, a UN-designated global terrorist, was arrested in connection with the terrorism financing case while on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala.
Prior to his arrest, the top 13 leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed Granted Pre-Arrest Bail by Lahore Court in Pakistan Till August 31.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sardar Shamim Ahmed heard a petition filed by Saeed on Monday in which he said that he was being kept in a jail in Lahore but was transported to Gujranwala city for each appearance before the court.
He said that in light of the security situation, appearing before the Gujranwala court was not fitting and added that if he was being held in a jail in Lahore, the case should also be shifted there, the Dawn newspaper reported.
During the proceedings, a lawyer for the Pakistan government said that they had no objection to shifting the case, the report said. The Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police has registered 23 FIRs against the JuD members on the charges of "terror financing" in different cities of the province.
The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets and properties made and held in the names of Trusts or Non Profit Organisations, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust etc.
On September 25, Lahore High Court chief justice had changed a two-member bench which was hearing the petition of Saeed challenging his arrest in the terror financing case. Last week, the sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council allowed Pakistan to let Saeed, use his bank account to meet basic expenses. Pakistan had frozen his bank accounts in compliance with a UNSC resolution seeking such a ban.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which was responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
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.a