The Lahore High Court has acquitted six leaders of the banned Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity front of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founded by Mumbai attacks' mastermind Hafiz Saeed, in a terror-financing case
The Lahore High Court has acquitted six leaders of the banned Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity front of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founded by Mumbai attacks' mastermind Hafiz Saeed, in a terror-financing case. The six were acquitted on Saturday in one of the FIRs of terror financing registered by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police. An anti-terrorism court had on April 3 this year convicted the six for offences under various sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The trial court had pronounced nine-year imprisonment sentences on Prof Malik Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Mujahid, Nasrullah, Samiullah and Umar Bahadur, while the sixth Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki had been awarded a six-month jail term, Dawn reported. Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki is the brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed, UNI news agency said.
The defense lawyers claimed that the Al-Anfaal Trust, of which the men were members, had no connection with the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The US State Department had actually amended the Lashkar-e-Taiba's terror designations to add the aliases: Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal.
The bench remarked that the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt to secure conviction of an accused.
“The appellants cannot be convicted for the mere reason that LeT or the trust have been proscribed,” it observed.
The bench ruled that the prosecution must independently establish the basis of the offences under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which it has failed to do.
JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and several other leaders have been convicted in dozens of FIRs registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on charges of terror financing.
The CTD had registered as many as 41 FIRs against the JuD leaders in different cities. The trial courts have so far decided 37 of them.
Earlier, the JuD leaders were produced before the Lahore High Court amid strict security arrangements.
They have been convicted in other terror financing cases and are in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, along with Saeed.
The Ant-Terrorism Court has sentenced Saeed to collective imprisonment of 36 years on terror finance charges under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 in five cases so far.
He was arrested in July 2019.