ATC grants pre-arrest bail to JuD chief & 3 others

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore granted pre-arrest bail to Jamatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and three others in a case pertaining to the outfit’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary.

The ATC granted interim bail to the accused, that included Saeed, Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza, and Malik Zafar, until Aug 31 against surety bonds of Rs50,000 each.

During the hearing, the legal counsel of the accused insisted that JuD was not using any piece of land illegally and urged the court to accept bail pleas.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to the federal government, the Punjab government and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) regarding a petition filed by Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his seven aides, challenging a case carrying charge of terror financing lodged by the CTD.

A two-member bench of the LHC comprising Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Mohammad Waheed Khan asked the parties to submit their replies within two weeks.

A lawyer for the federal government objected to the notices, arguing that the petition was non-maintainable. The bench, however, dismissed the objection and adjourned proceedings until July 30.

During the proceedings, Saeed and the seven other petitioners were represented by senior lawyer A.K. Dogar.

The other petitioners include Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Luqman Ali Shah, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Abdul Salam, Abdul Ghaffar and Abdul Qudoos Shahid.

According to the joint petition submitted earlier in July, the JuD leaders submitted that the facts, narrated in the impugned FIR lodged on July 1, illegally described them as members of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and levelled unlawful allegation of terror financing.

Prior to this on July 3, top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The counsel had referred to a 2009 judgment by a full bench of the LHC against the detention of Saeed at that time and stated that the petitioners were not members of the LeT.

He had stated that the LHC through another judgment issued in 2003 had held that Saeed had left the leadership of LeT on Dec 24, 2001 while the organisation was banned on Jan 14, 2002.

The lawyer had pleaded that the claim of the government that the petitioners were the members of the LeT stood disapproved in the light of the two judgments. Therefore, he had asked the court to quash the impugned FIR lodged by the CTD for being unlawful and of no legal effect.

The federation through the secretary ministry of interior, Punjab government through the home department and the SHO CTD regional headquarters Lahore were made party in the petition submitted in the high court.