LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Friday convicted Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), on a charge of terror financing.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) registered a case against him on Dec 7, 2020 and arrested him on Jan 2, reportedly in the Ring Road area in Lahore. The next day he was sent on judicial remand by the trial court and the investigating officer filed a challan the same day.

Lakhvi was present in the courtroom when presiding judge Ejaz Ahmad Buttar announced the guilty verdict and handed down a collective sentence of 15 years imprisonment with a fine of Rs300,000.

The judge observed that the prosecution had proved its case against the suspect to the extent of receiving, using and possessing a dispensary for the purpose of terrorism financing or terrorism.

The judge awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment each to Lakhvi under sections 11-H (2), 11-I (2) and 11-J (2) read with section 11-N of Anti Terrorism Act 1997.

The judge said all the sentences shall run concurrently.

The judge also ordered the government to confiscate dispensary Abu-Huraira situated in Pakpattan.

In his defence, Lakhvi said he had been falsely implicated in the case due to malice. He said all the prosecution witnesses were the government functionaries. He also denied his connection with the banned outfit. He said no dispensary existed at the property in question.

However, Lakhvi did not opt to produce evidence in his defence.

About co-suspect Abu Anas Mohsin, the judge directed the investigating officer to ensure the arrest or declare him a proclaimed offender.

Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and its other leaders have already been convicted in several cases of terror financing.

The CTD had registered as many as 41 FIRs against the leaders of the JuD in different cities. The trial courts have so far decided 27 cases.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2021

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