Lahore: Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed pleaded ‘not guilty’ Tuesday in two terror financing cases against him as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief recorded his statement in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court here, amidst mounting international pressure on Islamabad to rein in militant groups.
The Counter Terrorism Department had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province and arrested him July 17. He is held at the Kot Lakhpat jail here.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
“In response to a questionnaire handed over to him by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Lahore regarding terror financing charges against him, Saeed submitted Tuesday his reply in which he dismissed all charges against him. He pleaded not guilty,” a court official told said after the in-camera hearing. The official said the ATC adjourned the hearing till Wednesday for final arguments.
Saeed was produced at the ATC under tight security. Journalists were not allowed to enter the court premises for the coverage of the proceedings.
At the last hearing January 13, Saeed’s counsel had requested the court for adjournment of the hearing against his client, saying that Saeed needed more time to record his statement. A questionnaire was handed over January 10 to Saeed by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court.
Saeed, a UN and US designated terrorist, has USD 10 million American bounty on his head.