Ahead of crucial FATF meeting top terrorist leaders arrested in Pakistan
Lahore: Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies Thursday arrested the top four leaders of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba /Jamaat-ud-Dawah (LeT/JuD) on charges of terrorism financing, a move that authorities say would put the ‘entire core leadership’ of these outfits on trial.
The top four leaders of LeT/JuD have been identified as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Ashraf and Abdul Salam respectively.
The development comes ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) crucial plenary meeting scheduled to be held October 12 to 15 in Paris.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the Paris-based watchdog in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.
A spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said that there had been an ‘important progress’ in the national action plan (NAP) as the main leaders of proscribed organisation JuD/LeT have been arrested by the CTD Punjab in offences of terrorism financing.
“JuD/LeT chief Hafiz Saeed is already in prison facing trial for commission of offences of terrorism financing. Now the entire core leadership of the JuD/LeT will be on trial,” the CTD said in a statement.
It further said the CTD Punjab has been investigating offences of terrorism financing wherein these accused had built assets using the funds raised through the same method.
“The suspects further used these assets to raise more funds for terrorism financing. Donors of several assets/properties are also under investigation for providing some of these assets to the suspects and their proscribed organisations namely JuD/LeT,” the CTD stated.
“The suspects had formed trusts, like Al-Anfaal Trust, which acted as front entities of these organisations. The assets/properties have already been frozen by the government,” it said, adding the suspects will be produced before the trial court on Friday.
The CTD had arrested Hafeez Saeed, July 17. He is currently detained at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.