Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan in two more terror financing cases.
Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist on whom the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty, was arrested on July 17 last year in the terror financing cases. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in February this year in two terror financing cases.
The 70-year-old JuD chief is presently lodged at Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.
“The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Lahore on Thursday sentenced four JuD leaders, including its chief Hafiz Saeed, in two more cases,” a court official said.
Saeed and his two close aides — Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid — have been sentenced to 10 and a half years each, while JuD chief’s brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki was sentenced to six months imprisonment.
“Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta of ATC Court No. 1 heard the case filed by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in which the verdict has been announced after the statements of witnesses were cross-examined,” the official said.
A total of 41 cases have been registered by the CTD against the JuD leaders, of which 24 have been decided while the rest are pending in the ATC courts. Four cases have been decided against Saeed so far.
Thursday’s sentencing comes weeks after the Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog — the Financial Action Task Force — retained Pakistan on its grey list till February 2021 as Islamabad failed to fulfil the agency’s six key obligations, including failure to take action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists — Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar.
Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
The U.S. 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 FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic.
With Pakistan’s continuation in the ‘grey list’, the country may find it difficult to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped nation.