Indictment postponed for alleged Mumbai attacks' mastermind

Chief of the proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization Hafiz Saeed is taken to an Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore on Dec. 7, 2019. (Supplied)
Updated 07 December 2019

Indictment postponed for alleged Mumbai attacks' mastermind

  • JUD chief's indictment on terror financing charges will now take place on Dec. 11
  • Pakistan is striving to convince FATF it is doing its best to curb illicit financial flows

LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court on Saturday could not indict Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization, since one of his co-accused, Hafiz Zafar Iqbal, could not be brought before the judge by the authorities.
Saeed’s indictment on terror financing charges was expected on December 7, but the court adjourned the case against him after instructing the authorities to produce all accused individuals on the next hearing.
“Hafiz Saeed was produced before the court but the proceedings were adjourned till December 11,” his lawyer, Imran Fazal Gill, told Arab News. “The prosecution had not attached scrutiny report with the challan. The co-accused, Hafiz Zafar Iqbal, could not be produced in the court since he had to attend the proceedings of another case in Gujranwala. That deferred the indictment process.
Saeed was brought to the court amidt high security from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. It is worth mentioning that the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police has registered 23 complaints against the JuD chief and his accomplices on terror financing charges in various cities of the province.
According to the authorities, Saeed collected funds using various trusts and non-profit organizations to finance terrorism. Under pressure from the international community, Pakistan has been probing JuD and its affiliate organizations.
Saeed is accused of being the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed about 160 lives in India’s commercial capital. The United Nations Security Council, through a resolution, put sanctions on his organization and declared its office bearers as terrorists.
Implementing the UN resolution, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently directed the authorities to implement the National Action Plan while chairing the National Security Committee’s meeting. Subsequently, investigations were launched against Saeed and his fellows.
The government also took over the religious seminaries and schools run by the trusts operated by Saeed and the JuD.
Pakistan is striving to come out of the FATF grey list and has told the global watchdog that it is doing everything to curb money laundering and terror financing.


Peshawar to resume BRT service after getting clearance from Chinese experts

Updated 19 September 2020

Peshawar to resume BRT service after getting clearance from Chinese experts

  • PM Khan described the Bus Rapid Transit as ‘the best metro bus service available in Pakistan’ while inaugurating it in August
  • The facility was suspended within a few weeks after several buses caught fire while they were carrying passengers

PESHAWAR: A team of technical experts of a Chinese bus manufacturing company has arrived in the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to inspect the vehicles used by the city’s metro bus service after some of them caught fire recently, making commuters wonder if it was safe to travel on them.
Nearly a month after its inauguration, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service was indefinitely suspended on Wednesday after two more buses caught fire in the upscale Hayatabad locality of Peshawar.
According to the Rescue 1122 emergency service, there were no casualties and the fire that erupted in the air conditioning compartment was immediately extinguished.
“Yes, it was the fourth unfortunate incident in which two buses caught fire … Now a 20-member expert team of the bus manufacturing company has arrived from China to inspect our entire fleet and identify the causes of such incidents,” Muhammad Umair Khan, focal person for the BRT facility, told Arab News while declining to name the Chinese bus manufacturer.

In this undated photo, a metro bus can be seen in an upscale Peshawar neighborhood. The BRT facility was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan last month who called it "the best metro bus service available in Pakistan." (Picture courtesy: TransPeshawar)

Launched in October 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs49 billion, the 27-kilometer-long BRT corridor had to be completed within a span of six months. However, the project got delayed and missed at least four deadlines in 2018 and 2019.
The long-awaited service was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in the second week of August who called it “the best metro bus service available in Pakistan.”
The provincial adviser on local government, Kamran Bangash, told Arab News that the BRT service was suspended on the recommendation of Chinese experts.
“The manufacturers of these buses have assured us that the service will be restored at the earliest. However, we cannot give any timeline and we will not take any risk until we get clearance from the experts,” he added.

Noorshad Wazir, a student at the University of Peshawar, told Arab News that the suspension of the service was creating problems for commuters, though he added that people were also scared to travel on theses buses.
Video footage of the latest fire incident was widely shared on social media, showing thick black smoke coming out of the bus last Wednesday.
Shortly thereafter, TransPeshawar, the company that operates the service, announced its suspension in “the best public interest” to ensure passenger safety.
Muhammad Nouman, who works as a laboratory technician in the city and frequently used the facility after its inauguration, said that the BRT was “mired in controversies such as poor management” from the outset.
“It saved many people from traffic congestion,” he said. “But now I seriously wonder if the project has provided us relief or compounded our troubles. I am also not sure if it will be safe for us to travel on these buses in the future.”
TransPeshawar has already acquired a fleet of 220 hybrid air-conditioned buses to cover the BRT corridor in the city.
“We will make sure to prevent such incidents in the future,” said the BRT focal person. “We will only resume the service after thoroughly checking all the buses and rectifying the problem.”