HAFIZ SAEED SENTENCED TO 31 YEARS IN JAIL BY PAK COURT

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Friday sentenced Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to 32 years in jail in two more terror financing cases, news agency PTI reported. The court also imposed on Saeed a fine of PKR 340,000.

Anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge Ejaz Ahmad Bhuttar on Friday awarded the 32 years jail term to Saeed in two FIRs registered by the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police. “In the 21/19 and 99/21, he was sentenced for 15.5 years and 16.5 years, respectively,” news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.

The 70-year-old cleric had earlier been sentenced to 36 years of imprisonment in five such cases. The sentence of total 68 years imprisonment will run concurrently and hence, Saeed may not have to spend many years in jail, a lawyer told.

A UN-designated terrorist, Saeed was arrested on July 2019 in the terror financing cases. JuD, led by Saeed, is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which was behind the 26/11 Mumbai attack killing 166 people, including six Americans.

Saeed is the founder and leader of the Islamist terrorist organisation LeT that follows the Ahle-Hadith interpretation of Islam. Its goals are largely aligned with that of Pakistan, including the liberation of Kashmir from India. Apart from the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, LeT has been involved in the 2001 shootout at Parliament House in New Delhi and the 2016 attack on the military headquarters in Uri.

In 2012, in order to support India in its attempt to extradite Saeed, the US State Department offered a bounty of up to $10 million for any information that could lead to his arrest or conviction. Moreover, the US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist since 2012.

Last month, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has ordered the filing of charges against Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Syed Salahuddin, the chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen, as well as Kashmiri separatist leaders Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, and others, under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a case involving terrorist and secessionist activities.

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