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With Saeed according justice through Sharia courts, can Pakistan bring him to book


New Delhi, July 06: In the wake of a stern warning from the Financial Action Task Force, Pakistan decided to initiate 23 cases against Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his aides.

The counter-terrorism department said that it had launched 23 cases against Saeed and 12 others for using five trusts to collect funds and donations for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The department also brought under its radar two of its sister concerns, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat.

File photo of Hafiz Saeed

India was however not impressed with the action and stated that he needs to be arrested, tried and sentenced for acts of terror committed by him. Following the decision by the Pakistan government, India said that it did not read much into the ban as such instances have taken place in the past as well.

'Cosmetic Steps', says India after Pak books Hafiz Saeed, others in terror financing

Khalid Ahmed, while writing in the Indian Express says that there has been no mention made about the courts that Saeed has been running across the country. In 2016, The News had reported that Saeed had been running stealth courts and these supra-constitutional Sharia courts operate across the country and only the Lahore court of this system has issued 5,550 cases, including in murder trials.

The court is run under a Qazi (judge), who is assisted by Khadmins (court associates) to decide complaints. It deals mostly with civil cases relating to property and monetary disputes. The complaints are addressed to Saeed who later refers them to the Qazi for further proceedings.

According to a copy of one of the 'JuD summons', it has been dispensing private justice for the last couple of months.

The 'summon' orders a man named Khalid to appear before the 'court' to 'record his statement'. He is warned of strict action in case of no response.

JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid defended the establishment of the 'court', telling Dawn News that it was not a "parallel system" but an "arbitration court, which decides disputes with the consent of the parties". He also said that offering arbitration to confronting parties is not illegal.

However, he could not justify issuance of summons carrying a "warning of strict action" in case of non-compliance.

This is the first 'Sharia court' established in the Punjab. Earlier, they were functioning in Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa, operated by pro-Taliban groups. "The Punjab government of Shahbaz Sharif is aware of this but it has deliberately turned a blind eye to it because it is not willing to lay hands on the JuD", said a source in the Punjab government.

Now coming to the terror funding action, Pakistan has this tendency to protect its terrorists under the cover of a ban and similar action was also witnessed in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

There have been bans in the past, but the Jamaat-ud-Dawa has managed to over come it in various ways. Officials in Delhi tell OneIndia that one would see such action by Pakistan until the next hearing of the FATF in October. Once that is through Saeed will be back in action, the officer also explains.

Hafiz Saeed set to be arrested shortly along with his aides

Both the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court had cleared the JuD in the past and allowed it to operate. While the bans have been in place in the past as well, the JuD has always managed to overcome it either by going to court or carrying out its activities by coming up with newer outfits.

Paksitan's eye wash was evident in the year 2008. It sealed 100 offices of the JuD and even Saeed was placed under house arrest only to be released later. During all this Pakistan made a shocking statement in which it stated that there was no need to issue any notification banning the JuD when the UN has already added it to the list of banned outfits.

There was some more eye wash by Pakistan. It claimed that it had sealed the 200 acre campus of the JuD in Murdike. It also stated that an administrator in Pakistan had taken over the operational facility of the JuD.

All this led to the JuD seeking legal recourse. The petition drafted by top bureaucrats of Pakistan sought a directive to first release Saeed who was under house arrest. The court allowed the petition and in the days to come even the ban on the JuD was lifted. It is quite surprising that the Pakistan government was asked to return the property of the JuD and also its other assets when there was never any official notification The JuD has a sprawling campus at Murdike spread over 200 acres of land.

It has teaching facilities catering to 3000 students and also residential complexes. The investigations post 26/11 showed that the ten terrorists were housed in this complex and underwent training over here.

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