New Delhi: Hafiz Saeed, Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief on Friday challenged the charges of terror financing and money laundering against them in a Pakistani court. Earlier this month, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police, in a major crackdown against terror financing, had registered 23 FIRs against 13 leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) including its chief Saeed in different cities of Punjab province.

Saeed, who is reportedly residing at his Jauhar Town home in Lahore, approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) and filed a petition challenging these FIRs.

“Hafiz Saeed and other (petitioners) are not members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as per the (earlier) judgement of the LHC. The petitioners have no nexus with LeT or Al-Qaeda. They belong to JuD and they are not involved in any terrorist activity and they are only working for social welfare like ‘Edhi’ and more than that they are also educating the poor and the needy,” the petition said.

It added,”The Indian lobby made allegations against them (Saeed and others) that they are involved in Mumbai attacks but there is no such evidence or even any linkage born out from the said documents against the petitioners. There is no evidence that the petitioners are involved in ant-state activities and security risk.” The plea further urged the court to declare the FIRs registered against the them null and void.

Notably, the CTD’s action against Saeed and his six aides came following pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which last year placed Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over money laundering and terrorism financing. The watchdog gave Pakistan an October deadline to improve its efforts against terror financing.

The CTD said a large-scale investigation had been launched into the finances of proscribed organisations JuD, LeT and FIF in connection with the implementation of UN sanctions against these designated entities and persons under the directives of the National Security Committee in its meeting on January 1 this year chaired by PM Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.

(With agency inputs)