Asia - Pacific

Pakistan: Head of proscribed Jamaat ud Dawah indicted

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is facing terror financing charges

Aamir Latif   | 11.12.2019
Pakistan: Head of proscribed Jamaat ud Dawah indicted

KARACHI, Pakistan 

A Pakistani court on Wednesday indicted head of Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in a terror financing case, local media reported. 

An anti-terrorism court in northeastern Lahore city pressed charges against Saeed and four other JuD figures for their alleged involvement in a terror financing, local broadcaster Dawn News reported, citing the court record.

The court summoned the prosecution witnesses after Saeed and others pleaded not guilty, terming the charges against them baseless and a result of international pressure on the government.

The judge adjourned the hearing until Thursday.

Saeed was taken into custody in July this year -- a couple of weeks after authorities booked him together with several other leaders of banned militant outfits -- for terror financing in a desperate bid to avoid being placed on a blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Apart from Saeed, the leaders of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation -- a charity organization affiliated with the JuD -- were booked for allegedly making assets through terror financing, according to the broadcaster.

Also, authorities have seized several religious seminaries and schools tied to these groups across the country.

Both Pakistan and the U.S. have already proscribed these groups and seized assets of the groups -- including JuD and JeM -- blamed for several terrorist attacks such as the Mumbai attacks that killed over 166 people, including six U.S. citizens.

- FATF Gray List

Islamabad has been on the global money laundering watchdog’s radar since June 2018, when it was placed on a gray list for terror financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country's financial system and security mechanism.

However, an aggressive diplomatic push from Islamabad temporarily frustrated the looming threat with the support of Turkey, China, and Malaysia.

According to the 36-nation FATF charter, the support of at least three member states is essential to avoid the blacklisting.

In recent months, Pakistan has taken some major steps in accordance with the action plan, which includes bans on foreign currency transactions without a national tax number, and on currency changes of up to $500 in the open currency market without submission of a national identity card copy.

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