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.

Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight remembers birth of UAE airline

Updated 30 October 2020

Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight remembers birth of UAE airline

  • First-ever Emirates flight took off from Dubai to Karachi on October 25, 1985
  • UAE flag carrier’s success lies in leadership that prioritizes competence, retired captain says 

ISLAMABAD: Thirty-five years after he steered the first Emirates flight, Retired Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian says the success of the UAE flag carrier was and remains its competence and merit.

The first-ever Emirates flight, EK600, took off from Dubai to Karachi on October 25, 1985.

Recalling the airline’s birth and having observed its operations for over three decades, the former chief pilot of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), who flew the Emirates Airbus A300 on its maiden trip, says the UAE flag carrier’s success lies in leadership that prioritizes competence. 

“Emirates selects people on merit and they give them responsibility with authority,” he told Arab News in an interview this week. “No outside interference in their job. I am proud that I was a part of competent people who played a part in building Emirates airline from scratch.”

His involvement with Emirates was a result of PIA’s contract with Dubai to provide pilots, engineers and two aircraft to help establish the UAE airline.

“I came to Dubai on October 1, 1985 and met with Emirates Airline managing director Maurice Flanagan and their teams,” Mian said. “We discussed the tasks ahead related to the arrival of two aircraft to lay the foundation of the Emirates airline.”

An undated archival photo of Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian shows him during his service with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). (Photo courtesy: Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian)

“We used to discuss the progress every day and prepare reports and if there was any problem we found, we used to help each other solve that problem. And I am grateful to the great leadership of Sheikh Ahmed who was conducting these meetings,” he said, referring to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and founder of the Emirates Group.

The two aircraft were painted in Emirates colors at a PIA hangar in Karachi, all in secrecy. They were then flown to Dubai.

“On October 18, 1985 a team of engineers along with two aircraft arrived at Dubai airport with Emirates insignia. These aircraft were kept in a hangar at the far corner of the airport away from the public eye,” Mian said. 

On October 23, 1985, the Pakistani-Emirati team had to operate five special VIP flights over Dubai.

“On October 22, we received some uniforms very late in the night,” the former captain said. “The laundry was closed but a young man working in the hotel took these uniforms and pressed it at his residence and brought it back around midnight.”

“I was praying that nothing bad happens,” Mian said. “The first flight of Airbus was around 11 o’clock and Sheikh Mohammed (Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum) and other royal dignitaries were sitting in that aircraft. We flew over Dubai for 45 minutes and we were escorted by Dubai air force fighter pilots.”

Two days later the UAE flag carrier took off on its first official flight.

“On October 25, we operated the first official flight to Karachi with top royal dignitaries of UAE and employees of Emirates airline on board,” Mian said. 

The smooth beginning ended with a smooth landing.

“Landing was so smooth that nobody could realize that the aircraft had landed,” Mian said. “This was the beginning of Emirates.”