Lahore: Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his close aides will be arrested “very soon”, police said on Thursday, a day after Pakistani authorities booked them for committing multiple offences of “terrorism financing and money laundering”.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police on Wednesday registered 23 FIRs against 13 leaders of Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) including Saeed on the charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province.
“The CTD has booked the (13) leaders of JuD and other proscribed organisations on the charges of terror financing. As the FIRs have been registered the suspects will be arrested shortly,” Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi told PTI.
When asked as why the CTD has not yet arrested Saeed and others despite their nomination in the FIRs, Naqvi said: “In first, the FIR is registered against a suspect and then he is arrested. Saeed and others nominated in the FIRs will also be arrested subsequently.”
Previously, he said police arrested several members of the banned organisations on terror financing and subsequently they were handed down imprisonment by the anti-terrorism courts.
“So these suspects will also be arrested very soon,” Naqvi said.
A source in the Imran Khan government told PTI that the Punjab police are waiting a go-ahead from the “top” to lay hand on Saeed.
“Saeed is present at his residence in Lahore’s Jauhar Town and the police are waiting a green signal from the government to raid his residence to arrest him,” the source said.
The source further said it is likely that Saeed may be arrested this week as the Khan government appears keen to fulfill its obligations on terror financing under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The Anti-Terrorism Courts recently handed down up to five years imprisonment to 12 members of the JuD and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on the charges of terrorism financing.
On Wednesday, the CTD said it booked Saeed and 12 aides for ‘terror financing’ in 23 cases after “irrefutable evidence against them was detected.
The cases have been registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/ Non Profit Organisations (NPO) including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawat ul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.
Abdul Rehman Makki (deputy chief of JuD and Saeed’s brother-in-law), MaliK Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Naeem Sh, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar are other suspects.
Makki is lodged in the Camp Jail Lahore on the charges of making hate speech. The other suspects reported to have been hiding since the government took over over the properties of these organizations.
Pakistani authorities in March sealed the Lahore headquarters of JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and detained over 120 suspected militants as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned groups.