An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday (February 12) sentenced Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to 11 years imprisonment for his role in two terror financing cases.
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. He is currently lodged at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.
According to a PTI report, Saeed was sentenced in two terror financing cases registered against him in Lahore and Gujranwala cities on the application of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police.
The court sentenced Saeed to five-and-a-half years and imposed a fine of ₹15,000 in each case. The sentences of both cases will run concurrently.
The anti-terrorism court or ATC had indicted Saeed and his close aides on December 11 in the terror financing cases.
On last Saturday, Lahore ATC judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta deferred the verdict against Saeed in two terror financing cases till February 11.
In the two cases, the prosecution produced some 20 or so witnesses in the ATC who testified against Saeed and his close aides for their involvement in terror financing. Saeed pleaded “not guilty” in both the cases.
The Counter Terrorism Department had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province.
The cases were registered against Saeed and others in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of trusts/non profit organisations including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust among others.
According to the CTD, investigation launched into financing matters of proscribed organisations – JuD and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – in connection with implementation of UN Sanctions against these Designated Entities and Persons as directed by NSC (National Security Committee) in its meeting of January 1, 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan.
“These suspects made assets from funds of terrorism financing. They held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing and money laundering under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (Anti Terrorism Courts) for commission of these offences,” the CTD said.
The crackdown on Saeed’s outfit last year followed a warning by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.
Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
(With inputs from agencies)