US wants Pak to try and convict Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed now
Hafiz Saeed was indicted on Wednesday by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court along with three of his close aides on terror financing charges.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 11:59 IST
The United States called upon Pakistan on Wednesday to follow up its long overdue indictment of Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2002 Mumbai massacre, with “full prosecution” and “expeditious trial” in a sign it remains sceptical of Pakistan’s dubious counter-terrorism measures.
Saeed and four associates were indicted Tuesday by a court in Lahore, Pakistan for terror financing as part of Pakistan’s attempts to comply with conditions laid out by an international watchdog of terror financing and money-laundering.
The man accused by India of killing more than 160 people in the 2008 attacks over three days including Americans, is not being prosecuted for those deaths, as was noted widely among an expanding community of experts, observers and commentators sceptical of Pakistan’s dubious claims of fighting terrorism, specially those made under heightened international pressure. But for terror financing, a less serious offence.
Alice Wells, the top US diplomat for South and Central Asia, echoed that scepticism Wednesday. “We welcome the indictment of Hafiz Saeed and his associates,” she wrote in a tweet posted under her bureau’s handle but distinguished by her initials at the end, which are intended to affirm her authorship.
“We call for #Pakistan to ensure a full prosecution and expeditious trial in line with its intl (international) obligations to counter terrorist financing and bring the perpetrators of terrorist attacks like 26/11 to justice. AGW (the official’s initials, for Alice G Wells.”
The international body she referred to is the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based secretive watchdog of terror financing and money-laundering that has threatened to put Pakistan on its blacklist of egregious offenders, along with Iran and North Korea, unless it carried out reforms and undertook measures it has prescribed for Islamabad to prevent the designation.
Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba, whose men carried out the Mumbai attack, and its charitable front Jamaat ud-Dawa, has been arrested multiple times before under international pressure but was never tried seriously or incarcerated. Previous jail terms were served either at home or in friendly prisons.