The mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Hafiz Saeed, was convicted on Wednesday in two terror financing cases by a Lahore court in Pakistan. He was slapped with a prison sentence of five and three months in each case. The sentences in both will run concurrently.
This is Saeed’s first conviction in the last two decades. He is designated as a global terrorist by the US Department of the Treasury. Currently, Saeed is in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore on charges of terror funding.
Nevertheless, Saeed has the legal option to challenge the higher court in the upper court of Pakistan. Saeed, who is wanted in India as well for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case, has been pleading the court to defer the judgment as he claimed to not have enough legal representation in the case.
Four other cases related to terror funding have been pending in Lahore court, while chief of the banned terrorist group called Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) Saeed filed a plea requesting to complete the hearings of other pending cases against him as well and for the verdicts of all the cases to be announced together.
In December 2019, the anti-terror court in Gunjarwala in an order said that Saeed had been using shell organisations to fund his terror activities.
Pakistan's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) registered cases in five cities in Punjab province last year. They accused the JuD of financing terrorism using massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts, including the Al-Anfaal Trust, the Dawatul Irshad Trust, the Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, and others.
After stern action by the Imran Khan government against proscribed groups in April 2019, 23 FIRs were registered against JuD leaders at CTD police stations in Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad, and Sargodha on 1 and 2 July.
These cases were registered under an action carried out by the counter-terror agency in accordance with the National Action Plan, established by the government of Pakistan in January 2015 to crack down on terrorism.