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LHC Set To Hear Petition Calling for Dismissal Of Cases Against Hafiz Saeed

The Lahore High Court will hear a petition today calling for the rejection of First Information Reports registered against Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and 65 others.

Malik Zafar Iqbal, a top JuD leader, submitted the petition on Tuesday. The petition makes party the federal government, the provincial government of Punjab and the regional headquarters of the Counter Terrorism Department. Iqbal has himself been named in the FIRs in question, and his petition calls into question the legality of the FIRs, stating that they were registered “without lawful authority and were of no legal effect”.

The petition comes weeks after India revoked Article 370 of its constitution that gave a special status to Kashmir. The move has created anger in both Kashmir and Pakistan. Currently, the situation in Kashmir is tense, with protestors clashing with Indian law enforcement on the streets of Srinagar.

Last month, top JuD leaders including Hafiz Saeed were booked in nearly two dozen cases under the allegations of terror financing and money laundering. The CTD, which spearheaded the registration of the cases, claimed that the JuD was financing terrorism from the funds collected through certain non-profit organizations like Anfaal Trust and Dawatul Irshad Trust.

The petition submitted by Zafar Iqbal states that the property named in the FIRs was for a mosque and that there exists no tangible evidence that supports the idea that the property had ever been used for terror financing.

The petition also takes issue with the fact that Iqbal has been described as the head of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, which according to the petitioner is “factually and legally incorrect”.

On July 17, Hafiz Saeed was arrested in Gujranwala by the CTD in the aforementioned terror financing cases. The move came days before Imran Khan was set to meet United States president Donald Trump to discuss future relations between the two states.

In light of the recent events in Kashmir, it had been hinted that the government would soften its approach towards Hafiz Saeed. In a recent talk show of journalist Hamid Mir, former Pakistani ambassadors argued that an oppressed group like Kashmiris had a right to struggle against their oppressors and another country supporting them in their armed struggle would not be violating international law.

Meanwhile, activists in Pakistan have expressed their reservations about this move, saying that supporting militias is not the way to support the Kashmir cause and that Pakistan should make use of diplomatic means to supplement the Kashmir struggle.


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