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Pak. jails Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed for terror financing

Found guilty of being part of a terrorist outfit and for possessing illegal property

Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people and injured hundreds more, has been sentenced to jail in Pakistan for five-and-a-half years on terror finance charges.

Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist and head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), was found guilty of “being part of a banned terrorist outfit” and for “having illegal property” by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore.

The ATC sentenced him and his close aide Zafar Iqbal to five-and-a-half years each and imposed a fine of Rs. 15,000 in each case. A total of 11 years sentence will run concurrently.

The FIR against Saeed and his associates was registered last July on charges of terror financing at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Gujranwala.

Saeed, Abdul Ghaffar, Hafiz Masood, Ameer Hamza and Iqbal were indicted in December 2019.

This is the first time that Saeed, who has a $10 million bounty on his head by the U.S. government, has been formally convicted of an offence.

Legal experts say Saeed can appeal the verdict but he will be sent to jail immediately. He is currently lodged at Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail. The government prosecutor, Abdul Rauf Wattoo, confirmed the news of Saeed’s conviction to the media.

The sentencing comes days ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation combating money laundering and terror financing, that has put Pakistan on its grey list.

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