NEW DELHI: India on Thursday raised apprehension over reports of Pakistan court sentencing 26/11 attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed to six years on terror charges, questioning the efficacy of the move on the eve of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary meeting.
“We have seen media reports that a Pak court 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,” sources in the government was quoted by News18 as saying.
“The decision has been made on the eve of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary meeting, which has to be noted. Hence, the efficacy of this decision remains to be seen,” the report quoted the source.
“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,” they added.
FATF, the international terror financing watchdog, had noted in its meeting held in October 2019 that Pakistan addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling terror financing groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, responsible for a series of attacks in India.
Pakistan was placed on the 'Grey List' by the FATF in June, 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October, 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
This is the first time Saeed has been imprisoned since the 2008 attacks. The firebrand cleric was found guilty of "being part of a banned terrorist outfit" and for "having illegal property", said his lawyer Imran Gill.
Meanwhile, the United States has welcomed the decision, saying it as an important step towards holding the Lashkar-a-Taiba (LeT) accountable.
"Today's conviction of Hafiz Saeed and his associate is an important step forward – both towards holding LeT accountable for its crimes, and for Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terrorist financing," Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells was quoted by Times of India as saying.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said it is in the interest of his country's future that it does not allow non-state actors to operate from its soil, Wells said in a tweet (with inputs from News18).
Image Credit: News18