Hafiz Saeed conviction: ‘Unimpressed’ India questions Pak’s move ahead of FATF meet
Meanwhile, the US has welcomed Hafiz Saeed’s conviction and called it as an important step towards holding his Lashkar-a-Taiba terror group accountable.
As Pakistan sentenced Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to 11 years on terrorism financing charges, India on Thursday questioned the timing of the move that comes ahead of global anti-terror watchdog FATF’s plenary meeting.
Indicating that it wasn’t impressed with Islamabad’s move, New Delhi said it is a “part of a long-pending international obligation of Pakistan to put an end to support for terrorism", reports say citing government sources.
On the other hand, the US has welcomed Saeed’s conviction and called it as an important step towards holding his Lashkar-a-Taiba (LeT) accountable.
India called Pakistan on the timing of the move, as it comes ahead of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force meeting which will begin on Sunday.
"We have seen media reports that a court in Pakistan has sentenced UN-designated and internationally proscribed terrorist Hafiz Saeed in terror financing case. It is part of a long-pending international obligation of Pakistan to put an end to support for terrorism," said government sources.
"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. It has to also be seen whether Pakistan would take action against other all terrorist entities and individuals operating from territories under its control and bring perpetrators of cross border terrorist attacks, including in Mumbai and Pathankot to justice expeditiously," the government sources were cited as saying by reports.
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday sentenced Saeed to 11 years in jail in terror financing cases. A court official said that Saeed was sentenced in two terror financing cases in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The court sentenced Saeed to five and a half years and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case. The sentences of both cases will run concurrently.
Who is Hafiz Saeed?
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including foreigners. He is now lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
Saeed is a UN-designated terrorist and the US since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings him to justice.
The upcoming FATF meeting
The FATF in October decided to keep Pakistan on its “Grey” list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups.
If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
In the upcoming meeting, the watchdog will consider whether Islamabad has done enough to get off the "Grey" list of countries whose actions are monitored for diverting funds to terror groups or downgrade it to the black list for lack of credible action taken.
So far Pakistan has avoided the black list given that it has the support of countries like China, Malaysia, and Turkey.
On Saeed's conviction, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells tweeted:
Today’s conviction of Hafiz Saeed and his associate is an important step forward – both toward holding LeT accountable for its crimes, and for #Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terrorist financing.— State_SCA (@State_SCA) February 12, 2020