A Pak court has indefinitely delayed Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's hearing
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has adjourned for an indefinite period the hearing against Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed in four terror financing cases in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Hafiz Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was sentenced to 11 years in jail in two terror financing cases in February. The 70-year-old terrorist was arrested on July 17 and is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
"Lahore's anti-terrorism court has not been holding hearing in four terror financing cases against Hafiz Saeed and other JuD leaders for the last one month or so because of COVID-19," a court official told news agency Press Trust of India today.
He said the court had adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.
''It is likely that the proceedings in these cases may resume once the issue of coronavirus is settled," he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed 113 people and infected more than 6,200 others in the country.
The Pakistan government on Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown due to the virus outbreak until the end of this month.
Hafiz Saeed reportedly underwent angioplasty at a hospital in Lahore last month after he complained of chest pain.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of the province.
Hafiz Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
The US named Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. He was listed as a terrorist under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
In February, Lahore's anti-terrorism court sentenced Saeed and his close aide Zafar Iqbal to five and a half years each and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case. A total of 11 years sentence will run concurrently.
The US welcomed the conviction of Hafiz Saeed and described it as an "important step forward" for Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terror financing and not to allow non-state actors to operate from its soil.
The crackdown on Saeed's outfit last year followed a warning by the international terror financing watchdog to Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)