The much-awaited trial of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed began in Lahore on Friday with a witness testifying against him in the anti-terrorism court which also indicted the JuD chief in another case of terror financing, amidst intense international pressure on Pakistan to bring him to justice.
The anti-terrorism court (ATC) Lahore indicted Hafiz Saeed and three of his top aides Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Muhammad, Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal on terror financing charges on December 11.
"The Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police produced a witness in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Lahore who testified against Saeed and his three aides in terror financing," a court official told PTI after the hearing.
Hafiz Saeed and his aides were brought to the ATC under tight security and journalists were not allowed to enter the court to cover the proceedings.
The court official also said that Hafiz Seed was also indicted in another case of terror financing. ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta framed the charges on Hafiz Saeed and ordered the prosecution to produce witnesses in this case. The court adjourned the hearing till Saturday.
Since his indictment, the day to day hearing of the case was halted because of the country-wide strike of lawyers.
The lawyers were protesting on the arrest of their colleagues in the case of hooliganism at a hospital in Lahore.
Deputy Prosecutor General Punjab Abdur Rauf had told the court that the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and others were involved in terror financing and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police had "solid evidence".
The CTD had registered 23 FIRs against Hafiz 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.
Hafiz 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 Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice.
Hafiz Saeed's indictment follows after 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.