A Pakistan court on Wednesday convicted Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed, in two terror-financing cases and has sentenced him to prison for five and a half years with a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case.
This comes as Pakistan continues to face pressure from the international community to curb terror activities on its soil.
A Lahore anti-terrorism court (ATC) has convicted Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act Section 11-F(2) – pertaining to membership, support and meetings relating to a proscribed organisation – and 11-N (punishment under Sections 11-H [fund raising] to 11-K [money laundering]).
ATC judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta announced the verdict.
The sentences in both cases will run concurrently. The court also granted him the benefit of Section 382-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure (reduction of the period of sentence of imprisonment).
The court also directed the concerned authorities to keep Saeed in custody until further orders.
The cases were filed by the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) Lahore and Gujranwala chapters. The case filed by the CTD’s Gujranwala chapter was initially being heard in a Gujranwala ATC but was shifted to Lahore on the directions of the Lahore High Court.
In December last, the anti-terrorism court in Pakistan had indicted Hafiz Saeed on terror financing charges.
In July last, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police had registered 23 FIRs against Hafiz Saeed and his 12 accomplices on charges of “terror financing” in different cities of Punjab province and arrested the JuD chief.
The cases were registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terror financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of Trusts/Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust.
Later in October, In an attempt to show that it is working in accordance with the FATF directives to crack down on UN proscribed terror groups, the CTD arrested four aides of Saeed.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba or LeT, which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
Earlier in February, following diplomatic pressure after the Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan had banned Saeed’s terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its front Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The US has also offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.