The chief of the proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Saeed, was arrested by security forces in Punjab on Wednesday, said official sources.

The JuD leader was reportedly traveling between Gujranwala and Lahore when he was intercepted by Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and arrested.

The move comes after the CTD, in a major crackdown against terror financing, registered 23 cases against Saeed and 12 aides for using five trusts to “funnel funds to terror suspects”.

The CTD had said it had registered cases under the Anti-Terrorism Act in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan against the leadership of banned outfits Jud, Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) and falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF).  

The accused were raising funds for terror financing using five trusts — Dawatul Irshad Trust, Moaz Bin Jabal Trust, Al Anfaal Trust, Al Madina Foundation Trust and Alhamd Trust.

Those booked include Saeed’s brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Ameer Hamza, Yahya Aziz. MaliK Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Dr Ahmad Daud, Dr Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar.

“All the assets of these organisations and individuals will be frozen and taken over by the state,” said a counter-terrorism senior official.

They are accused of “promoting terrorism and raising funds to facilitate terror activities”. These proscribed outfits were operating under the guise of charities and raising funds for terror financing, the CTD said.

The move follows pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which last year placed Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over money laundering and terrorism financing. The watchdog gave Pakistan an October deadline to improve its efforts against terror financing.

The CTD said a large-scale investigation had been launched into the finances of proscribed organisations JuD, LeT and FIF 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.

Hafiz Saeed was granted a pre-arrest bail on Monday by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore. Interim bails were given to other accused Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza and Malik Zafar against surety bonds of Rs50,000 each.