LAHORE - An anti-terrorism court in Lahore sentenced Hafiz Saeed , founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and chief of the banned Jamaatud Dawa, to 11 years in jail in two terror financing cases on Wednesday. However, sentences of both the cases will run concurrently.

A court official told reporters that Saeed was sentenced in two terror financing cases registered against him in Lahore and Gujranwala cities on the application of the Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department. The court sentenced Saeed to five-and-a-half years and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case.

Earlier, Saeed and his close aides were indicted by the Lahore ATC in the terror financing cases on December 11.

An official explained that Hafiz Saeed and co-accused professor Malik Zafar Iqbal were awarded five years and six months imprisonment by ATC judge Lahore in FIR NO 32/2019, registered by CTD Gujranwala and five years and six months imprisonment in FIR NO 30/2019 registered against him by the Lahore CTD.

 

The order says that Saeed is convicted under Section 11-N of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs10,000, and if he defaults on the fine, he will spend an additional six months in prison. The JuD chief was also sentenced under Section 11-F of ATA 1997, with a punishment of six years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000.

 

“The sentences passed in this case shall run concurrently with the sentences passed in case FIR No 30/2019 dated August 5,2019 under sections 11-F(5)(6), 11-H2,11-I, 11-J and 11-N of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997,” the order further stated.

 

The JuD leader is facing more than two dozen cases related to terror financing and having a nexus with banned organizations. All the cases were clubbed before the Lahore anti-terrorism courts due to security reasons. Saeed along with others had denied the charges.

 

The court had indicted the JuD chief and three of his associates – Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Mohammad, Mohammad Ashraf and Prof Zafar Iqbal – on terror financing charges on December 11 last year in a case filed by the CTD police. Saeed and Prof Zafar Iqbal were later indicted in a similar case on December 20. The cases were filed by CTD Lahore and Gujranwala chapters.

 

Last week, the ATC had deferred announcing its verdict in the terror financing cases and decided to hear arguments on Feb 11 on the suspects’ application to hear all cases first before reserving its judgment.

 

In July, at least 13 top leaders of the banned outfit, including its chief Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases of terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. Saeed was later arrested by the CTD on July 17 while he was travelling between Gujranwala and Lahore.

 

Hafiz Saeed is nominated in 29 cases related to alleged terror financing, money laundering as well as illegal land grabbing. During the trial of both cases, the court recorded the statements of 23 witnesses. The crackdown on JuD last year followed a warning by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.

 

Following his arrest, Saeed was kept at the Lahore’s high security Kot Lakhpat jail.

 

Earlier, the cases were registered against Saeed and others 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 including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

 

According to the CTD, investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations - 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 stated.

 

The US Department of the Treasury had designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.