At present, Hafiz Saeed is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan's Lahore. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
A day after an anti-terror court in Pakistan convicted Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in two terror funding cases, India on Thursday reacted cautiously to the development. Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs pointed to the timing of the conviction. “We have seen media reports that a court in Pakistan has sentenced UN designated and internationally proscribed terrorist Hafiz Saeed in terror financing case. It is part of a long pending international obligation of Pakistan to put an end to support for terrorism,” sources told News Nation. Pointing to the timing of the development, sources said that, “the decision has been made on the eve of FATF Plenary meeting, which has to be noted. Hence, the efficacy of this decision remains to be seen.”
The MEA sources said that, “it has to also be seen whether Pakistan would take action against other all terrorist entities and individuals operating from territories under its control, and bring perpetrators of cross border terrorist attacks, including in Mumbai and Pathankot to justice expeditiously.”
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief was sentenced to 11 years in two terror financing cases on Wednesday. Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17 in the terror financing cases. The 70-year-old cleric is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
Anti-terrorism court Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta sentenced Saeed 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. Saeed and Iqbal were sentenced in two cases registered against them in Lahore and Gujranwala cities on the application of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police. Iqbal is the secretary of Al-Anfaal Trust. The JuD chief was slapped with a prison sentence of five-and-a-half years and a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case. The sentences of both cases will run concurrently, Abdul Rauf Wattoo, a deputy prosecutor general said.
Under pressure from the international community, the Pakistani authorities have launched investigations into matters of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) for their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing. Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. The US Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings the JuD chief to justice.