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A reprieve for Hafiz Saeed, courtesy a lawyers’ strike

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Islamabad, Dec 15: After his indictment, the trial against Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in the terror financing case could not be kicked off for the third consecutive day on Saturday because of a country-wide strike by lawyers.

A reprieve for Hafiz Saeed, courtesy a lawyers’ strike

Saeed, who has been indicted along with three close aides in terror financing case, could not be produced before the Anti-terrorism Court here on Saturday because of the lawyers' strike. The lawyers are protesting for the last three days against the arrest of their colleagues in a case of hooliganism at a hospital in Lahore.

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    The ATC Lahore adjourned the hearing of the terror financing case against Saeed and others till December 16.

    "Except the arrested lawyers no other suspect or witness in any other case were presented before the ATC due to the lawyers strike during the last three days," a court official told PTI on Saturday.

    He said the prosecution which was to present witnesses against Saeed and others also could not bring them to the court.

    The ATC court on Wednesday indicted Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief and his aides Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal in the terror financing case and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses.

    The ATC on Wednesday framed the terror financing charges on the four suspects in their presence. Deputy Prosecutor General Punjab Abdur Rauf had told the court that founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba and others were involved in terror financing case and the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab police had 'solid evidence' in this regard.

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    The CTD had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of "terror financing" in different cities of Punjab province and arrested Saeed on July 17. He is detained at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

    The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/Non Profit Organisations (NPO) including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

    According to the CTD, investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations -- Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) -- in connection with implementation of UN sanctions against these designated entities and persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its Meeting of January 1, 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.

    "These suspects made assets from funds of terrorism financing. They held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing and money laundering under Anti Terrorism Act 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (Anti Terrorism Courts) for commission of these offences," the CTD said.

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    The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a US $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

    Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

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