26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi has been sentenced to 15-year imprisonment over terror financing charges
India on Friday slammed Pakistan’s “farcical" move to put terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, leaders of two Pakistan-based anti-India groups, behind bars, just ahead of key meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global terror financing watchdog.
“The timing of these actions clearly suggests the intention of conveying a sense of compliance ahead of the Asia Pacific Group meeting and next FATF plenary meeting in February 2021," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said.
“It has become routine for Pakistan to come up with such farcical actions prior to important meetings," Srivastava said. “UN proscribed entities and designated terrorists act as proxies for the Pakistani establishment to fulfil its anti-India agenda. It is for the international community to hold Pakistan to account and ensure that it takes credible action against terror groups, terror infrastructure, and individual terrorists," he said.
The comments came soon after news reports that Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group’s operations commander, was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in a terror financing case. Lakhvi, 61, a UN-proscribed terrorist, was on bail since 2015 in the Mumbai terror attack case. He was arrested by the counter-terrorism department (CTD) of Punjab province a week ago, PTI reported.
“The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Lahore convicted Lakhvi for commission of offences of terrorism financing in a case registered by the CTD for 15 years under different sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997," a Pakistani court official told PTI.
Lakhvi was designated as a global terrorist by the UN in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and al-Qaeda, and for “participating in financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating acts by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of" both the entities.
On Thursday, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Gujranwala area had issued an arrest warrant for Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on the charges of terror financing, the PTI report said. The court issued the warrant during a hearing in a terror financing case instituted by the CTD of Punjab police against some members of the JeM.
Paris-based FATF had placed Pakistan on the Grey List in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019. The deadline was extended following the covid-19 outbreak.