Pak court concludes cross examination of prosecution witnesses against Hafiz Saeed, aides

Pak court concludes cross examination of prosecution witnesses against Hafiz Saeed, aides

LAHORE: Cross-examination of prosecution witnesses in terror financing case against Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his three close aides before an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan concluded on Thursday.

The Anti-Terrorism Court-I indicted Saeed and his close aides – Hafiz Abdul Salam, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal – on terror financing charges on December 11. “Lawyers of Saeed and his close aides completed the cross examination of the prosecution witnesses in the Anti-Terrorism Court-I Lahore here on Thursday,” a court official told PTI after the hearing which lasted for more than six hours.

He said that the prosecution had produced a good number of witnesses against Saeed and others. ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta directed the defense lawyers Naseeruddin Nayyar and Muhammad Imran Fazal Gul to present its witnesses from Friday, the official said.

The court adjourned the hearing till Friday. Separately, the ATC-II held the hearing against Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) spokesperson Yahya Mujahid and Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki in the terror financing case against them and recorded the statements of the witnesses.

The ATC-II adjourned the hearing of this case till January 14. On Wednesday, the Revenue Department officials were among witnesses who testified against Saeed and others. The Revenue officials had submitted the record of the JuD centres, seminaries and mosques in Lahore. The witnesses told the court about Saeed’s collections of funds for terror financing.

Strict security measures were taken in and outside the court premises during the appearance of the JuD leaders. Journalists had not been allowed to enter the court premises to cover the court proceedings against Saeed and others since they were indicted 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 LeT 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. The US has also welcomed Saeed’s indictment, urging Islamabad to ensure a full prosecution and expeditious trial of the charges against him.

The indictment followed growing international pressure on Pakistan to stop militant groups from collecting funds in the country and to take immediate action against those still involved in militant activities. PTI