Hafiz arrest soon: Police
Alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his closest aides will be arrested “very soon”, the police said on Thursday.
The police announcement comes a day after the Pakistani authorities booked Saeed for committing multiple offences linked to financing of terror acts and money laundering.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police on Wednesday registered 23 FIRs against 12 JuD leaders, including Saeed, in different cities of the Punjab province.
“The CTD has booked the (13) leaders of JuD and other proscribed organisations on the charges of terror financing. As the FIRs have been registered the suspects will be arrested shortly,” Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi said.
When asked why the CTD has not yet arrested Saeed and others despite their nomination in the FIRs, Naqvi said: “First, the FIR is registered against a suspect and then he is arrested. Saeed and others nominated in the FIRs will also be arrested subsequently.”
Previously, he said the police arrested several members of the banned organisations on charges of terror financing and subsequently they were handed down imprisonment by the anti-terrorism courts. “So these suspects will also be arrested very soon,” Naqvi said. A source in the Imran Khan government said the Punjab police are waiting a go-ahead from the “top” to nab Saeed.
“Saeed is present at his residence in Lahore’s Jauhar town and the police are waiting for a green signal from the government to arrest him,” the source said.
He added that it is likely that Saeed may be arrested this week as the government appears keen to fulfill its obligations on terror financing under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Pakistan failed to complete its action plan on terror financing before the June deadline set by FATF. The task force warned Islamabad to meet its commitment by another deadline in October or face action, which could possibly lead to Pakistan being blacklisted.
The Paris-based global body is working to curb terror financing and money laundering and has asked Islamabad to reassess its crackdown on banned terror outfits in the country.In June last year, the FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terror financing.
The Anti-Terrorism Courts recently sentenced 12 members of the JuD and the Jaish-e-Mohammed to five years imprisonment on charges of terror financing.
On Wednesday, the CTD said it booked Saeed and 12 aides in 23 cases after “irrefutable evidence” against them was found.
The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/ Non Profit Organisations.
It said large scale investigations were launched into the finances of the JuD and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in connection with the implementation of the UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities and Persons as directed by the National Security Committee on January 1, 2019.
“These suspects made assets from funds of terror financing. They held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terror financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terror 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.
Saeed’s JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.