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ATC sentences Hafiz Saeed to prison for 11 years in two cases

Chief of the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed and two others were sentenced to prison for five years and six months each in two cases by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore on Wednesday.

Justice Arshad Hussain Bhutta announced the decision of the verdict, a collective punishment of 11 years and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on the JuD chief in both cases.

Saeed has been sentenced for five-and-a-half years in each case and the court has stated that both the sentences will begin concurrently.

Saeed’s lawyer told AFP that his client was found guilty of “being part of a banned terrorist outfit” and for “having illegal property”.

The cases against the JuD chief were led by Deputy Prosecutor General Abdul Rauf Watto and around 23 witnesses recorded their statements in the cases.

Saeed was arrested by Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in July last year.

The JuD chief, who has several cases pending against him, was travelling to Gujranwala from Lahore to appear before an anti-terrorism court to seek pre-arrest bail when he was taken into custody.

A CTD official told media Saeed had been presented in an anti-terrorism court and sent to prison. He added that the charge sheet against Saeed will be presented soon. The official further said that a case had been lodged under the anti-terrorism act.

Chief Minister Punjab’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill confirmed Saeed was arrested near Gujranwala.

“The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

The arrest was part of the Government of Pakistan’s crackdown against outlawed organisations under the National Action Plan.

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