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Pakistan falls to old tricks with Hafiz Saeed sentencing to avoid FATF heat

Mumbai Terror attack mastermind sentenced in Pakistan. [Courtesy, OrissPost]

Anti-terror watchdog has poured cold water on the lengthy sentencing of seasoned terrorist Hafiz Saeed, by the Pakistani government.

Hafiz Saeed was handed a 31-year jail term on April 8, for terror-related charges that include financing terrorists.

His imprisonment came amid a political crisis in Pakistan that is under pressure to meet stringent anti-terror measures if it has to escape the action anti-terror watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

This move by the Pakistan government, however, is viewed as a seasonal charade to avoid or postpone economic sanctions in case the FATF is not satisfied with the country's measures taken against terror funding and money laundering, according to ANI report.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hadiz Saeed was sent to prison in two terror financing cases that were registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in 2019, according to Islam Khabar.

However, with the next FATF meeting a few weeks away and the change of government in Pakistan, it still needs to be seen if the country still keeps on following its policy of foot-dragging on measures to fight terror at home and its 'export' to the neighbourhood. Further, the political crisis in the country might be Pakistan's ready excuse for being unable to deliver to FATF.

 Amidst a raging political crisis that overwhelmed everything else in Pakistan, an anti-terrorism court on April 8, 2022, sentenced Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and the chief of the Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Saeed, to 31 years in prison in two new terror financing cases that were registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).

Saeed is not new to terrorism. His links to the world of terror are established enough for the US to announce a million-dollar bounty on him. He is also the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks that killed 172 people in the Indian metropolis in 2008.

His outfit LeT was also involved in the 2001 shootout at Parliament House in New Delhi and the 2016 attack on the military headquarters in Uri, according to the media outlet.

Using Saeed at will, Pakistan has always curbed his public criticism. Further, his terror trials have been long concealed under the guise of charity.

However, amid international pressure and the fear of sanctions from FATF, Pakistan was compelled to investigate him.