Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed's spokesperson Yahya Mujahid has been sentenced to another 15 years in jail by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in a terror financing case. Mujahid was last month handed down 32 years jail term by the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in two terror financing cases.
Besides Mujahid, the ATC Lahore on Wednesday also handed down 15 years imprisonment to JuD's senior leader Zafar Iqbal and six months jail term to Saeed's brother-in-law Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki. Earlier, the ATC Lahore had sentenced Iqbal for 26 years imprisonment in three such cases.
Judge Ijaz Ahmad Buttar announced the verdict under different provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The three convicts were present in the court when the judge announced the verdict.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police had registered as many as 41 FIRs against JuD leaders, including Saeed in different cities. The trial courts have so far decided 25 cases. The ATC has sentenced Saeed for a collective imprisonment of 21 years on terror financing charges under sections 11-N of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 in four cases so far.
Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17 last year in the terror financing cases. The 70-year-old JuD chief is lodged at Lahore's high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The recent verdicts by anti-terrorism court comes in the wake of Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog's decision to retain Pakistan on its 'grey list' till February 2021 as Islamabad failed to fulfil the Financial Action Task Force's six key obligations, including failure to take action against two of India's most wanted terrorists — Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar.
The FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic. With Pakistan's continuation in the 'grey list', the country may find it difficult to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped nation.