Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, blamed by India for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai assaults, was on Thursday given a jail time period of fifteen-and-half years in a terror financing case by a Pakistani courtroom, his fourth conviction this yr on related prices.
This was the longest jail sentence awarded to this point to the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief within the 5 instances which have been determined towards him by the anti-terrorism courtroom in Lahore. Although the jail phrases in these instances cumulatively add as much as 36 years, he’ll serve the sentences concurrently.
The courtroom additionally imposed a high quality of Pakistani Rs 200,000 on Saeed, 70, who’s being held in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail. Nevertheless, reviews have advised he’s being supplied preferential therapy within the jail, together with entry to particular services and guests.
Saeed’s newest conviction comes within the run-up to Pakistan’s efforts to counter terror financing being reassessed by the Monetary Motion Job Pressure (FATF) early subsequent yr. In October, the multilateral watchdog retained Pakistan in its “gray checklist” for failing to completely ship on an motion plan to combat terror financing, giving it time until February to deal with what it stated had been “very severe deficiencies”.
FATF president Marcus Pleyer cautioned that Pakistan wouldn’t be given an opportunity “endlessly” to deal with excellent points, and stated repeated failure to ship on the motion plan would lead to a rustic being put within the “black checklist”.
A courtroom official in Lahore was quoted by PTI as saying: “On Thursday, an anti-terrorism courtroom of Lahore sentenced 5 leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, together with its chief Hafiz Saeed, in one other terror financing case…for 15-and-half years.”
The others convicted by the courtroom had been all shut aides of Saeed – JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid, Zafar Iqbal, Hafiz Abdus Salam and Muhammad Ashraf. The courtroom additionally gave a six-month jail time period to Saeed’s brother-in-law Abdul Rahman Makki and fined him Pakistani Rs 200,000, the courtroom official stated.
Saeed and the others had been delivered to the courtroom amid tight safety and media wasn’t allowed into the courtroom.
In November, Saeed was given two separate five-year jail phrases below provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act for utilizing and offering funds for acts of terrorism in two instances of terror financing. He was additionally given a six-month jail time period for being a member of a banned group.
Saeed was additionally given two sentences of five-and-a-half-years in February. It was earlier thought he would serve solely about 5 years in jail as all of the sentences had been to run concurrently. Nevertheless, Thursday’s verdict means he’ll serve as much as 15-and-half years.
A complete of 41 instances had been registered final yr towards JuD leaders by the Counter-Terrorism Division of Pakistan’s Punjab province, and 28 of them have been determined to this point.
Individuals accustomed to developments stated on situation of anonymity that the motion being taken towards Saeed is essentially due to stress on Pakistan from Western powers and FATF to crack down on UN-designated terror teams and people in addition to terror financing, together with prosecution of these funnelling funds to terrorists.
Saeed’s repeated conviction in 5 instances this yr can be being seen as his diminishing utility to Pakistan’s highly effective navy institution, which has for lengthy had connections with LeT, JuD and different entrance organisations arrange by him, such because the Falah-e-Insaniyat Basis.