Pak anti-terrorism court adjourns hearing against Hafiz Saeed till Jan 29

LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan on Monday adjourned till January 29 the hearing against Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his close aides in terror financing cases after their lawyers couldn’t complete arguments.

Saeed, the chief of outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), and his close aides – Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Ashraf, Abdus Salam, Yahya Mujahid and Abdur Rehman Makki – were brought in the Lahore’s Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in high security.

“The hearing continued for more than five hours in which Saeed’s lawyers – Advocates Naseeruddin Nayyar and Imran Fazal Gull – presented their arguments declaring their client innocent. The court adjourned the hearing till January 29 as his lawyers could not complete their arguments,” a court official told PTI.

In a separate case of terror financing against JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid and its senior leader Abdur Rehman Makki, the court held the hearing which continued for four hours or so. The court adjourned the hearing in this case till February 3. Saeed has already recorded his statement before the court in two terror financing cases against him in which he pleaded “not guilty”.

The cases of terror financing have been registered against him in Lahore and Gujranwala cities on the application of Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab police. Cross examination of prosecution witnesses against Saeed and his three close aides by the defense counsel has already been concluded. The prosecution had produced a number of witnesses against Saeed.

The Anti-Terrorism Court-I (ATC) indicted Saeed and his close aides – Hafiz Abdul Salam, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal – on terror financing charges on December 11. 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 him on July 17. He is held at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. 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. PTI