Hafiz Saeed arrested in terrorism financing case

Authorities on Wednesday arrested outlawed Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on terror finance charges, a spokesman for the Punjab chief minister said.

Shahbaz Gill said Hafiz Saeed was arrested near the town of Gujranwala. “The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal,” he said.

The Punjab Counter Terrorism Department said in a statement that Hafiz Saeed had been arrested while going to a court in Gujranwala to seek pre-arrest bail but was remanded in custody. A CTD official said Hafiz Saeed had been presented in an anti-terrorism court and later sent to prison. He added that the charge sheet against him will be presented soon. The official further said that a case against Hafiz Saeed had been lodged under the anti-terrorism act. The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.

A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest.

On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Hafiz 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. The 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 non-profit 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.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed the arrest of Hafiz Saeed. Trump, who didn’t name Saeed, said, “After a ten-year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!”