Pakistani Islamist leader pleads not guilty on terrorism financing charges

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, looks over the crowed as they end a “Kashmir Caravan” from Lahore with a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan July 20, 2016. (REUTERS/File)
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Updated 20 December 2019

Pakistani Islamist leader pleads not guilty on terrorism financing charges

  • Hafiz Saeed is facing charges of financing terrorism
  • The US has offered a reward of $10 million for information leading to his conviction

LAHORE: Pakistani Islamist militant Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai, pleaded not guilty on Friday in a second case on charges of financing terrorism, a government prosecutor and a defense lawyer said.
Saeed, who was indicted on similar charges in another case on Dec 11, was presented in an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, prosecutor Abdur Rauf Watto told Reuters.
Defense lawyer Imran Gill said the second case was related to Saeed’s charity operations. “The militant charities the accused ran collected illegal funds,” Watto said.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure, a militant group blamed by the United States and India for the four-day Mumbai siege in which 160 people were killed. Foreigners, including Americans, were among the dead.
Pakistan’s counterterrorism police arrested Saeed in July, days before a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The indictments came ahead of a meeting of world financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) early next year that will decide whether to blacklist Pakistan for its failure to curb terror financing.
The United States has offered a reward of $10 million for information leading to the conviction of Saeed, who has been arrested and released several times over the past decade.
Washington has long pressured Pakistan to try Saeed, who is designated a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations.
The Islamist has denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks and says his network, which spans 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, has no ties to militant groups.


Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

Updated 15 January 2021

Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

  • A Pakistan International Airlines plane was ‘held back’ by Malaysian authorities after a local court issued a verdict against the airlines in a payment dispute
  • The national flag career called the situation ‘unacceptable,’ announced to send its legal team to the court to present its case

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines announced on Friday its legal team would approach a court in Malaysia that ordered to impound one of its planes that was scheduled to fly out of Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day and bring back passengers to Pakistan. 

“PIA was facing a payment dispute with another company and the matter was being heard by a court in the United Kingdom for the last six months,” said the airlines spokesman, Abdullah Khan, in a video message. “The same company also took a stay order against us in another country [Malaysia] and a local court issued an ex-party decision against the airlines without serving it a notice or hearing its stance.” 

Khan added that the PIA legal team would pursue the matter with Pakistan's official and diplomatic assistance. 

“It is important to mention here that this incident was timed to somewhat mitigate our response since it happened ahead of the weekend,” he maintained. “However, our legal team will take up the matter in the Malaysian court immediately after the weekend and we are hopeful to resolve this issue as soon as possible.” 

Pakistan’s foreign office also issued a statement on Friday, saying its diplomatic mission in Malaysia was in close contact with relevant authorities over the detained plane and its stranded passengers. 

“The passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have also been finalized,” the foreign office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said while responding to a media query. 

“They will be departing Kuala Lumpur by EK 343 later tonight,” he added. 

The PIA plane was held back by Malaysian authorities over a British court case, PIA said in an earlier statement, adding it would pursue the matter through diplomatic channels. 

“A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court,” a PIA spokesman said in a statement. 

The national carrier’s statement said the situation was “unacceptable” and that it had asked for support from Pakistan’s government to raise the matter diplomatically. Malaysian authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment.