LeT founder Hafiz Saeed jailed for 5 years for terror financing, will challenge verdict
Reports of Hafiz Saeed’s conviction comes right ahead of a crucial meeting of the anti-terror financing body, Financial Action Task Force, that will decide Pakistan’s listing colour code.Updated: Feb 12, 2020 18:20 IST
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) emir Hafiz Saeed has been convicted in a terror financing case by a Pakistan court and sentenced to five years jail, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday. This is the first time that Hafiz Saeed, who was arrested last year, has been convicted in a terror case.
Reports of Hafiz Saeed’s conviction comes right ahead of a crucial meeting of the anti-terror financing body, Financial Action Task Force, that will decide Pakistan’s listing colour code.
Islamabad, which has been trying to get off FATF’s grey list, has been trying to persuade the international community that it was serious about curbing terror financing.
The “grey list” acknowledges that Pakistan is a country where terrorist groups can carry out activities and raise funds, a label that makes foreign investment and loans from global financial institutions difficult.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried out 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 160 people. He has not been charged for the terror attack.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had last year ordered action against Hafiz Saeed in the face of intense international pressure and the FATF grey listing. Saeed’s arrest in July last year over charges of terror financing was timed right ahead of Imran Khan’s three-day visit to the US.
US President Donald Trump had then rushed to take credit for the arrest: “After a ten year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him,” he had tweeted.
In December, Saeed was eventually charged with collecting funds for his banned organisations, which the U.N. and the United States have designated as terrorist groups. He pleaded not guilty.
“Hafiz Saeed and another of his close aides have been sentenced in two cases of terrorism financing,” prosecutor Abdul Rauf Watto told Reuters.
“The total punishment in both the cases was 11 years but he will serve five and a half years in jail as the two punishments will run concurrently,” Saeed’s lawyer Imran Gill said, adding that Hafiz Saeed would appeal against the verdict.