Image copyright Getty Images An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced hardline Islamist cleric Hafiz Mohammad Saeed to 11 years in jail for financing terrorist operations. The man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 161 people is to serve two five-and-a-half prison terms concurrently. Saeed has been wanted by India for…

Hafiz Saeed

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An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced hardline Islamist cleric Hafiz Mohammad Saeed to 11 years in penal complex for financing terrorist operations.

The man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 161 of us is to relief two five-and-a-half penal complex terms concurrently.

Saeed has been wanted by India for years, and is designated as a world terrorist by every the UN and the US, which has a $10m bounty on his head. He’s the founding father of 1 in all Pakistan’s finest militant groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

So why has it taken so long to avoid losing him slack bars – and will he cease there? The respond is complex, now not least by the truth that Saeed is widely diagnosed to be pleased shut links with the Pakistani militia.

Why punish him now?

The respond might also lie in Pakistan’s rising world isolation since the mid-2000s, its worsening financial woes and extra now not too long ago a probability of being blacklisted by the Monetary Lag Job Force (FATF), the realm terror financing and money laundering watchdog.

A good deal, Saeed’s conviction comes a week sooner than the Paris-essentially based mostly FATF discusses Pakistan’s development in curbing terror financing.

Pakistan, which has long denied supporting militants to further its international coverage targets, is already in monetary dire straits.

Mostly ruled by its militia, whether or circuitously or circuitously, since its independence in 1947, the nation has heavily relied on American and Heart Eastern benefit to retain itself as a viable speak.

Experts deem that if Pakistan continues to fail to meet the FATF and is downgraded to its blacklist, there can be excessive monetary and diplomatic implications, including an affect on a bailout it be getting from the World Monetary Fund (IMF).

India is looking out at events closely. The US Enlighten Department known as the conviction of Saeed a “step forward”.

What has Pakistan been doing to curb militants?

In June 2018, FATF moved Pakistan to its “grey” list of international locations – these that are stumbled on to be non-compliant on money laundering and terror financing standards.

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Saeed is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

Over the next months, in thunder to avoid world sanctions, Pakistan moved to arrest scores of terror suspects and sealed or took over hundreds of properties linked to banned groups.

But many saw these actions as correct intended for optics, with out a excessive motion considered towards most essential militant groups equivalent to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

The stress kept rising, and in April 2019, the authorities proscribed half a dozen organisations linked to the JuD and any other community, the Markaz Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDwI).

Hafiz Saeed’s conviction was for owning properties linked to banned organisations equivalent to JuD and MDwI.

He was arrested closing July, three months sooner than FATF’s scheduled review of whether or now not Pakistan was complying with its motion conception.

In that review, held in October, Pakistan was stumbled on lacking on several counts, nonetheless a probability on whether or to now not downgrade it was prolong till the next review, which is expected subsequent week.

Saeed was indicted in December, and the trial concluded in now not up to 2 months, which might be pleased to be a legend of kinds for Pakistan.

But given his shut links with the Pakistani security establishment, many quiz if he would perhaps be the truth is abandoned by the Pakistani establishment, made to relief a fleshy sentence and condemned to the lifetime of a convicted felony.

Is this the first time he has been arrested?

No.

Pakistan has arrested him several instances since the 9/11 attacks in the US, nonetheless it indubitably never charged him with particular offences and consistently house him free in the pause.

He was build aside underneath dwelling arrest on a assortment of events, first when the Indian authorities blamed him for masterminding the December 2001 assault on its parliament, after which after the Mumbai enlighten bombings of 2006.

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Pakistan is already in monetary dire straits

He was also build aside underneath dwelling arrest several instances between 2008 and 2009 following accusations that the LeT had implemented the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

On every of these events, the Pakistani authorities did now not frame charges towards him. As a change, it continued to file for extensions of his dwelling arrest which the courts would indirectly refuse, setting him free.

Whether this time would perhaps be assorted, or whether it’s a ways ample to meet the FATF stays to be considered.

What is Saeed’s background?

He house up MDwI collectively with a Pakistan-essentially based mostly Saudi Salafist leader Abdullah Uzzam in 1987, when the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was nearing its pause.

The community spawned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), allegedly with help from Pakistan’s Inter-Services and products Intelligence (ISI) look company, to pass a most essential fragment of Islamist jihadis from Afghanistan to fight towards Indian rule in disputed Kashmir.

It is widely believed the LeT was instrumental in neutralising the secular, professional-independence rhetoric of the Kashmiri management which had formed the discipline’s first approved uprising towards Indian rule in 1988, and grew to change into it into a talented-Pakistan Islamist marketing campaign.

At the same time, analysts deem, it continued to imprint tactical and ideological toughen to Islamist factions that prevented put up-Soviet Afghanistan from stabilising.

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