A day after Hafiz Saeed was sentenced in two terror financing cases, people familiar with the development in the government said that the efficacy of the decision remains to be seen, as it came just days ahead of a global watchdog’s review on Islamabad’s action against terror networks operating from the country, official sources said on Thursday (February 13).
A Pakistani court on Wednesday (February 12) sentenced Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, to 11 years prison in two cases relating to terror financing.
The sentencing of Saeed came just four days ahead of a meeting of global anti-terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris to review Pakistan’s compliance of an action plan prescribed by it to contain terror groups in the country.
Last year, the FATF asked Pakistan to fully implement its anti-terror action plan by February 2020 or face severe action. Pakistan was already kept under the “grey list” of countries by the FATF for failing to contain terror financing.
Indian government sources said it is part of a long-pending international obligation of Pakistan to put an end to support for terrorism and that efficacy of Saeed’s sentencing remained to be seen.
“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,” an official source said elaborating on the government’s assessment of the action.
The sources said its also to be seen whether Pakistan would take action against all other terrorist entities and individuals operating from territories under its control. India has been pressing Pakistan to take action against all those involved in cross-border terror attacks including the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks. It has to be seen whether Pakistan brings perpetrators of cross border terrorist attacks, including in Mumbai and Pathankot to justice expeditiously, the sources said.
US welcomes Hafiz Saeed’s conviction
The US has welcomed the conviction of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and said that his sentencing is an important step forward for Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terror financing and holding the LeT accountable for its crimes.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells said in a tweet: “Todays conviction of Hafiz Saeed and his associate is an important step forward both towards holding LeT accountable for its crimes, and for Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terrorist financing”.
(With inputs from agencies)