An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday sentenced Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to 11 years in jail in terror financing cases. Reacting to this, government sources on Thursday said the efficacy of Pakistan's decision to convict Hafiz Saeed in terror financing cases "remains to be seen" and whether the country would take action against all other terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil.
Saeed was sentenced to 11 years in prison by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Wednesday - a development that came "on the eve of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Plenary meeting", ANI quoted government sources as saying. "We have seen media reports that a court in Pakistan has sentenced UN-designated and internationally proscribed terrorist Hafiz Saeed in terror financing cases. It is part of a long-pending international obligation of Pakistan to put an end to support for terrorism," they noted.
"The decision has been made on the eve of the 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," sources said.
Saeed's conviction comes days ahead of the Plenary and Working Group meetings of the FATF - a Paris-based global watchdog which, last year, had warned Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and three of his associates - Hafiz Abdul Salam bin Mohammad, Mohammad Ashraf and Professor Zafar Iqbal - had been indicted by the ATC - on terror financing charges on December 11 last year in a case filed by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
Saeed is wanted in India for planning the 2008 attack in Mumbai when 10 terrorists killed 166 people and injured hundreds more. 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.
The US has hailed the sentence against him. The conviction "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," tweeted Alice Wells, the top US diplomat for South Asia.
(With Agency inputs)