The US on Saturday said that it is “encouraged” by the conviction of Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in a terror financing case in Pakistan, but Islamabad should further hold him accountable for his involvement in terror attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai carnage.
Mumbai attack mastermind Lakhvi was sentenced to 5 years in jail on Friday by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in a terror financing case, amidst mounting international pressure on Islamabad to bring to justice terrorists roaming free in the country.
Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Lahore Judge Ejaz Ahmad Buttar sentenced UN proscribed terrorist Lakhvi to five years of rigorous imprisonment each on three counts with a fine of PKR 100,000 (approximately USD 620) each on three counts. His punishment will run concurrently.
Reacting to the court judgement, the South and Central Asia Bureau of the US State Department tweeted, “We are encouraged by the recent conviction of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.”
“However, his crimes go far beyond financing terrorism. Pakistan should further hold him accountable for his involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks.”
India on Friday said the timing of these actions clearly suggests the intention of conveying a sense of compliance ahead of APJG (Asia Pacific Joint Group) meet and the next FATF (Financial Action Task Force) plenary meet in February 2021.
Lakhvi, who was on bail since 2015 in the Mumbai attack case, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab province on last Saturday.
He was designated as a global terrorist by the UN in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and al-Qaeda and for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” both the entities.
The global terror financing watchdog FATF is instrumental in pushing Pakistan to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in Pakistan and using its territory to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere.
The Paris-based FATF 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 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The LeT, led by Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.