An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday sentenced four persons to death for their role in triggering a powerful car bomb blast outside Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s house here in June last year that killed three people, according to a court official. Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta also handed down five years imprisonment to a woman, identified as Ayesha Bibi, during the in-camera trial proceedings at the high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail here.
Three people were killed and over 20 others injured in the blast outside Saeed’s Jauhar town residence here on June 23, 2021 that also damaged a number of houses, shops and vehicles in the area. “The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Lahore awarded death sentence to Eid Gul of banned Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Peter Paul David, Sajjad Shah and Ziaullah on nine counts. Another suspect Ayesha Bibi was handed down five years imprisonment, the court official told PTI. “The prosecution presented 56 witnesses against the suspects who denied their role in the blast,” he said, adding that the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had presented challan against these five suspects. According to the CTD, Eid Gul had installed explosives in the car used in the blast.
The car belonged to Peter Paul David and other three – Sajjad Shah, Ziaullah and Ayesha – were facilitators. The Punjab government claimed to have unearthed the network of all 10 Pakistani suspects’ involved in the blast. However, only five of them were indicted in the case. Saeed, chief of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) has been serving jail sentence at the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore for his conviction in terror financing cases. There were unconfirmed reports that Saeed was present at his house when the blast took place.
The 71-year-old radical cleric and a UN-designated terrorist, whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, has been convicted for 36 years imprisonment in five terror financing cases. His punishment is running concurrently. Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (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. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is instrumental in pushing Pakistan to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in the country and using its territory to carry out attacks in India.