LAHORE                   -               An anti-terrorism court in Lahore will announce its verdicts in two terror financing cases against Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed outfit Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), on Saturday. Judge Arshad Bhutta on Thursday reserved the verdicts in both the cases.

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 Counter Terrorism Department.

Saeed and Prof Zafar Iqbal were later indicted in a similar case on December 20. The state was represented by Deputy Prosecutor General Abdul Rauf Watto and the statements of 23 witnesses were recorded during the proceedings.

According to Watto, the JuD chief ran militant charities and collected illegal funds. On July 3 last year, 13 top leaders of the banned outfit, including its chief Hafiz 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.

The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

The organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan. Finally, 23 FIRs were registered against JuD leaders at the CTD police stations of Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad and Sargodha on July 1 and 2.Besides the top two JuD leaders, Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Dr Ahmad Daud, Dr Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid,

Mohammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were also booked in the cases.

The CTD took some months to collect evidence against the banned organisations regarding terror financing and assets/properties which had already been seized by the state.

The action against the JuD came in the wake of pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has placed Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over money laundering and terrorism financing.

The CTD said the investigation into the finances of proscribed organisations, the JuD, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation were launched in connection with the implementation of UN sanctions against these designated entities and persons under the directives of the National Security Committee in its meeting on January 1 this year chaired by PM Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.