Pak’s court jails LeT’s Lakhvi for terrorist financing, India calls ‘sham’
A Pakistani counter-terrorism court on Friday convicted and sentenced Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi on terrorist financing charges, although India dismissed the incident as a “sham” action aimed at the financial action task. Force (GAFI).
Lahore’s anti-terror court found Lakhvi guilty under three sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act for running a dispensary to raise funds for the financing of terrorism. The judge gave Lakhvi separate five-year prison sentences in each section, to be served simultaneously.
The court also imposed fines totaling 300,000 Pakistani rupees on Lakhvi and said he would face an additional 18-month jail term if he did not pay. Lakhvi was present in court during the hearing and Judge Ejaz Ahmad Buttar ordered the police to send him to jail to serve his sentence.
This is the first time that Lakhvi, accused of being the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, has been convicted of a terrorism-related crime. However, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Punjab Province Counter-Terrorism Department told the media that he had been arrested for terrorist financing and not for any “specific militant attack.”
In New Delhi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told a regular press conference hours after sentencing that Pakistan’s “ridiculous actions” appeared to be headed for an upcoming FATF review of the efforts. of the country to counter terrorist financing. He also called for “credible action” by Pakistan against terrorist groups.
“The timing of these actions clearly suggests the intention to convey a sense of compliance ahead of the APG (Asia-Pacific Group) meeting and the next FATF plenary meeting in February. It has become routine for Pakistan to propose such absurd actions before important meetings, ”he said.
“UN banned entities and designated terrorists act as representatives of the Pakistani establishment to fulfill its anti-India agenda. It is up to the international community to hold Pakistan to account and ensure that it takes credible action against terrorist groups, terrorist infrastructure and individual terrorists, ”he added.
Also read: Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi: UN designated terrorist, mastermind of 11/26
Lakhvi was found guilty and sentenced in his first court appearance after his arrest on terrorist financing charges on January 2. The judge said in his order that the prosecution had shown that Lakhvi was using the dispensary to raise funds to finance terrorism and that there was “sufficient evidence in the form of oral testimony.”
The court also ordered the authorities to arrest Lakhvi’s associate, Abu Anas Mohsin, who was involved in running the dispensary.
The court order says Lakhvi will serve his sentence in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Prison, where he was detained before being arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks. He was released on bail in 2015, but reports had suggested that he had continued to guide LeT’s operations even when he was in jail earlier.
Last year, LeT founder Hafiz Saeed was found guilty and sentenced in five separate terrorist financing cases. They gave him prison terms ranging from five years to fifteen and a half years to be executed simultaneously. Several close associates of Saeed were also convicted in terrorist financing cases.
Pakistan was retained on the FATF “gray list” last year for failing to fully comply with an action plan to combat terrorist financing, and the multilateral watchdog has given the country until February to address what it said were. “very serious deficiencies”. The FATF plenary and working group meetings on February 21-26 will review the case of Pakistan, and this will be preceded by another APG assessment.