NEW DELHI: India on Friday questioned the timing of Pakistan’s action against Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and said that UN proscribed entities and designated terrorists act as proxies for Pak establishment to fulfill Islamabad’s anti-India agenda.
“The timing suggests intention to convey sense of compliance ahead of APJG and FATF meets,” the ministry of external affairs said reacting to a Pakistani anti-terrorism court order which sentenced Lakhvi to 5 years in jail in a terror financing case.
“It is routine for Pakistan to come up with farcical actions prior to key meetings,” the MEA said adding “It is for international community to hold Pakistan accountable, and ensure it takes credible action against terror groups.”
The next FATF plenary meeting is scheduled to he held in February 2021.
LeT commander Lakhvi, who was on bail since 2015 in the Mumbai attack case, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab province on Saturday.
Interestingly, Lakhvi was presented before the Lahore ATC on Friday and was convicted the same day in the terror financing case registered against him some time ago.
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 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.
Proscribed terrorists and entities are subject to an assets freeze, wherein all states are required to freeze funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities, a travel ban that prevents the entry into or transit through nations’ territories by the designated individuals and an arms embargo.
The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (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.
Lakvi has been convicted for running a dispensary and using the funds collected from it for terrorism financing.
“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 court official told news agency PTI after the hearing.
Lakhvi was sentenced 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 punishments will run concurrently.
“In default of payment of fine, he will have to undergo an imprisonment of six months each on three counts. He has been sent to prison to serve the sentences,” the official said.
Lakhvi pleaded before the court that he was “falsely implicated” in this case.
On Thursday, an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala had issued an arrest warrant for banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on the charges of terror financing.
The court issued the warrant against Azhar during a hearing in a terror financing case instituted by the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab police against some members of the JeM.
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.
The UN has named Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
(With inputs from PTI)