LAHORE: Seven more prosecution witnesses testified against the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, Hafiz Saeed, for his alleged involvement in terror financing case in a four-hour hearing at a Pakistani court here on Friday.
The anti-terrorism court (ATC) Lahore indicted Saeed and his close aides - Hafiz Abdul Salam, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal - on terror financing charges on December 11. On Thursday, five witnesses testified against Saeed and his close aide Iqbal.
"Another seven prosecution witnesses testified against Saeed and his close aide Zafar Iqbal for their involvement in terror financing in a marathon hearing of four hours," a court official told PTI after Friday's hearing.
He said that the witnesses were cross examined by Saeed's counsel. The ATC-I Lahore Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta adjourned the hearing till Saturday. The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police produced the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief and Iqbal in high security.
Strict security measures were taken in and outside the court premises before the appearance of the top JuD leaders. The defence counsel had already taken a stance denying allegations against the JuD leaders as baseless and a result of international pressure on Pakistan government.
The CTD had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province and arrested him on July 17. He is held at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. The US Department of the Treasury has designated 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.
The US has also welcomed Saeed's indictment, urging Islamabad to ensure a full prosecution and expeditious trial of the charges against him.
The indictment followed growing international pressure on Pakistan to stop militant groups from collecting funds in the country and to take immediate action against those still involved in militant activities.