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Pakistan arrests 'top four leaders' of Lashkar-e-Taiba ahead of crucial FATF meeting
The top four leaders arrested on Thursday have been identified as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Ashraf and Abdul Salam.
Lahore: Pakistan's law enforcement agencies on Thursday arrested the "top four leaders" of the banned LeT/JuD on charges of terrorism financing, a move that authorities say would put the "entire core leadership" of these outfits on trial.
The top four leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba /Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) arrested on Thursday have been identified as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Ashraf and Abdul Salam.
The development comes ahead of the Financial Action Task Force's crucial plenary meeting scheduled to be held in Paris from October 12 to October 15. Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the Paris-based watchdog in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist with Iran and North Korea. A spokesman for the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said that there had been an "important progress" in the National Action Plan (NAP) as the main leaders of proscribed organisation JuD/LeT have been arrested by the CTD Punjab in offences of terrorism financing.
"JuD/LeT chief Hafiz Saeed is already in prison facing trial for commission of offences of terrorism financing. Now the entire core leadership of the JuD/LeT will be on trial," the CTD said.
It further said the CTD Punjab has been investigating offences of terrorism financing wherein these accused had built assets using the funds raised through terrorism financing. "The suspects further used these assets to raise more funds for terrorism financing. Donors of several assets/properties are also under investigation for providing some of these assets to the suspects and their proscribed organisations namely JuD/LeT," it said. "The suspects had formed trusts, like Al-Anfaal Trust, which acted as front entities of these organisations. The assets/properties have already been frozen by the government," it said, adding the suspects will be produced before the trial court on Friday. The CTD had arrested Saeed on July 17. He is detained at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
The CTD said investigation was launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations -- JuD and LeT -- in connection with the implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities & Persons as directed by the NSC (National Security Committee) in its meeting on January 1, 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the NAP.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The US, since 2012, has been offering a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.