Terrorist Hafiz Saeed has been chargesheeted under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) by the country’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). An anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala had on ordered the CTD file its chargesheet against Saeed by August 7.
Saeed is a UN-designated global terrorist who leads the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror outfit, and all its fronts and proxies, such as the Jamaat ud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation. The chargesheed has held him guilty of terrorism under Section 11 of the ATA, which deals with his association wit terrorism, terrorist organisations and terrorism financing. There is yet no information on whether he has been charged with aiding and abetting any terror attacks.
The Pakistani government’s action against Saeed comes even as Islamabad tries to convince the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that it has taken effective steps to curb terrorism financing. This is one of the conditions placed on Pakistan by the FATF to prevent it from blacklisted from international financing networks.
It remains to be seen if Pakistan is more serious about prosecuting the terrorists it has sponsored and supported for decades in the face of pressure from the FATF and the larger international community.
Saeed had been arrested on July 17 by the CTD while he was on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala. The anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala had on July 24 remanded him to an additional 14 days in custody. It had also ordered the CTD to file its chargesheet against him by August 7.
Saeed is reported to be in poor health and has spent much of this calendar year in hospital. Reports suggest he has been asked to lie low by Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment in a bid to ride out international pressure over the Pulwama attack, which killed 45 Indian security personnel on February 14.
India’s response to the attack was to launch airstrikes on a terrorist training camp, which was widely supported as a proportionate response by the international community.