2 Days before FATF Hearing on Pak Blacklisting, Hafiz Saeed Sentenced for 5 Years in Terror Financing Cases


New Delhi: A Pakistan court on Wednesday convicted Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed for five years in cases of terror financing, news agency ANI reported. Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

This is the first time he 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.

The action came two days before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary in Paris that will decide on Pakistan's blacklisting or greylisting.

According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, Saeed was also given a fine of Rs 15,000 in each of the two cases. The sentences of both the cases will run concurrently.

Earlier on Tuesday, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore accepted Saeed's plea to club all six terror financing cases against him and his aides. The ATC had indicted Saeed and others on December 11 in terror financing cases in a day-to-day hearing.

"The anti-terrorism court of Lahore accepted the plea of Saeed and his close aides seeking delay in the verdict in two concluded terror financing cases against them till the trial in other four such pending cases is complete," said a court official on Tuesday after the hearing.

According to the petition, four other terror financing cases against Saeed, Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Abdul Rehman Makki are pending before the same ATC. "As evidence has been in progress, the court may announce the verdict in six cases including the ones already concluded once the trial is completed," it said.

Last month, Saeed had pleaded "not guilty" in two terror financing cases against him.

The Counter Terrorism Department had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province and arrested him on July 17. He is held at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

(With inputs from agencies)