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HomeNationalCourt sentences banned JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed to 32 years jail

Court sentences banned JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed to 32 years jail

ATC judge says Hafiz Saeed was involved in terror financing by receiving properties and collecting funds

An Anti-Terrorism Court on Friday sentenced Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of proscribed organization Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) to 32 years in jail, and ordered the authorities to confiscate the whole property of the ‘banned’ organization.

ATC III Judge Ejaz Ahmed Buttar announced the verdict after hearing lengthy arguments of both sides in two different cases of terror financing.

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The court awarded a 16-year jail term in each case and imposed a fine of Rs 340,000 on Hafiz Saeed and made it clear that he would undergo one year and 6 months each under different sections for his involvement in terrorist activities.

Advocate Naseer-ud-Din Nayyar appeared as the counsel for Hafiz Saeed and Advocate Imran Fazl Gill advanced arguments on behalf of the defense.

Both the lawyers, while representing Hafiz Saeed and other parties, contended that the stance of the prosecution was based on hearsay. They questioned why the prosecution did not produce that source as a witness in the court who had provided information that their client [Hafiz Saeed] received the land in question.

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“The hearsay evidence is inadmissible,” said the counsel while arguing. The defense counsels argued that Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad was registered when Section of 11-B and 11-EE were not inserted  in Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, thus, one could not be convicted of an offense retrospectively of an act which at the time of the commission of offense was not punishable under any law.

The defense counsels also argued that any provision of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 did not authorize the courts to punish a person for an act which was not an offense when it originally took place. They argued that fair trial was a fundamental right under Article 10-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, and the accused persons must be provided all opportunities to defend themselves.

The prosecution, they argued, could not furnish solid evidence regarding involvement of Hafiz Saeed in the case, and prayed the court to acquit him of all charges.

The prosecution, however, opposed the arguments of the defense’ counsels and said that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was a proscribed organization which was banned during the Musharraf era on January 14, 2002. They said that Al-Dawat-ud-Irshad was a subsidiary organization of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

The state counsels argued that Hafiz Saeed and his banned organization received land of one kanal and 9 marlas from Ghulam Hassan,  a resident of Chak 67, Shab Kalan of Mian Channu Tehsil, and used that land for purposes of terrorism. The prosecution established that Ghulam Abbas, who died later, transferred the said land to the proscribed organization knowing that the same could be used for projection of terrorism activities and could be used to finance the terrorists.

After hearing both sides, Judge Ejaz Ahmed Buttar held that the prosecution established its case which produced a copy of the notification which clearly showed that Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad, Pakistan, was proscribed and that the accused had undeniable association with it.

The judge awarded Hafiz Saeed 16 years jail each along with the fine.

The judge held, “All the sentences awarded to the said convict Hafiz Muhammad Saeed s/o Kamal Din run concurrently of this case and of previously awarded, if any.”

The court also ruled: “Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad, Pakistan which itself is a legal person, hence conviction shall extend to legal person and in consequences thereof a fine of Rs 25,000 upon Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad, Pakistan and its whole property,  whether moveable or immovable, is also forfeited in favor of the state.”

Giving reference of Section 11-I of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the court held, “A person commits an offense if he uses money or other property for the purpose of terrorism or he possesses money and other property; and intends that it should be used or has reasonable cause to suspect that it may be used for the purpose of terrorism, and as discussed in supra of the case in hand it has been established or recorded that above mentioned property was possessed by Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad.”

The court decided, “Hence, it is established that Al-Dawat-ul-Irshad, Pakistan, is involved in collecting funds for terrorist activities, so sufficient and reasonable cause to believe in this case that the said property was acquired and the same was kept and was used for the collecting of funds and for the purpose of terrorism, and thus the ingredients of Section 11-I of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 are also fulfilled.”

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was an active member of the proscribed organization and any association of a person with such organization was a crime under the law, the court held, ruling that he was member of such organization until and unless he expressly established his disassociation with it.

During the proceedings, the judge held that the custodian of the banned organization did not deny his association with the organization under question and receiving funds through its platform.

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