Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, was charged for funding global terrorism-related activities by a Pakistani court on December 11, 2019. Saeed’s charges were delivered when he was presenting in the court for his trial for various terrorism-related crimes.
Hafiz Saeed and his Terror Crimes
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant organization, which was founded in 1987. The militant organization has been one of the most active Islamic terrorist organizations in South Asia and is known for conducting wide-scale terrorist activities internationally.
He is linked with several other organizations including Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, Milli Muslim League, and Falah-e-Insaniat foundation and some of which have been banned. In April 2012, the US had announced a reward of $ 10 million for information leading to Saeed, who had been convicted for the terror crimes against India.
He was alleged for being the mastermind who maneuvered the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed nearly 166 people including several Americans. Saeed was re-arrested by Pakistan’s counter-terrorism police in July 2019, and remanded in the police custody at the Kot Lakhpat Jail.
Charges against Saeed for Funding
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan police registered 23 first information reports (FIRs) against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province of the country.
The cases against Saeed were then registered in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Multan for the charge of collecting funds from different assets, which were held in the names of trusts or non-profit organizations including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust.
The defense lawyer of Saeed, Imran Gill stated that his client pleaded not guilty. Saeed has been denying any involvement in the Mumbai attacks and claimed that his organizations such as schools, hospitals, a publishing house, and ambulance services have no affiliation to any militant groups.
US and India Pressure Pakistan on Terrorism
A large number of terrorist activities have been linked to Pakistan and hence, the country has been under the radar of the US. The arrest of Saeed in July was the result of prolonged pressure from Washington.
In October 2019, the US warned that Pakistan needed to clarify and stop terrorist activities coming by February 2020. The Pakistan Government is now facing a situation of a sanction from the US regarding the terror funding issue.
A global financial observer, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is likely to conduct a meeting in early 2020 to decide whether Pakistan should be blacklisted for its failure to curb terror financing.
The decision of the court against Saeed’s involvement in funding terror activities can also be a factor of India’s persistent pressure on Pakistan. Since the Mumbai event, New Delhi has been demanding that Saeed should be brought to justice.
A report from an Indian Government official stated, “The mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack was ‘roaming freely’ and enjoying ‘Pakistan’s hospitality.”
Raveesh Kumar, the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson explained on December 6, 2019, “New Delhi had shared all the evidence with Pakistan and it was Islamabad’s responsibility ‘to take action’ against the perpetrators of the attack.”
Hello, I’m Anna Yeo. If you like my news coverage, please drop a good word in my inbox. I’m journalist by profession and have been part of many major reporting across the globe. I like to write crisp and factual news. I have completed my masters degree in journalism. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]