Monday, 8 August, 2022

Mumbai terror attack handler jailed for 15 years in Pakistan

NEW DELHI: An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan awarded a 15-year jail term in a terror financing case to Sajid Mir, an operative of the proscribed terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and the alleged mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks this month, reports PTI.

“An anti-terrorism court in Lahore early this month handed down a 15-year jail term to Sajid Majeed Mir, an activist of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), on a terror financing case,” a senior lawyer associated with terror financing cases of LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa leaders told PTI on Friday.

Mir, who was on the wanted list of both the US and India for a decade, was presumed dead.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police, which often issues convictions of suspects in such cases to the media, did not notify Mir’s conviction in a terror financing case.

Besides, since it was an in-camera proceeding in jail, the media was not allowed.

The lawyer further said convict Mir, who is in his mid 40s, has been in the Kot Lakhpat jail since his arrest this April. He said the court also imposed a fine of over Rs 4,00,000 on the convict. Sajid Mir, who has a bounty of $5 million, is on India’s most wanted list for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead. Mir was called “project manager” of the Mumbai attacks. He reportedly had visited India in 2005 using a fake passport in a fake name.

Earlier, the Pakistani authorities in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting held in Berlin from June 14-17 had informed the Western interlocutors that Sajid Mir was arrested in April and was given an eight-year prison term after a trial, reports said.

Pakistan has been included in the FATF gray list since June 2018 for failing to check money laundering leading to terror financing. FATF is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that aims to prevent these illegal activities and harm they cause to society.

Security experts believe that Pakistan’s arrest of Sajid Mir is a well-thought plan by the Pakistani government that wants to get off of the gray list. Experts say that Pakistan, through the arrest of Mir, wants to show that they are working against terrorism.

FATF, in its meeting held in Germany this year, said that it will conduct an on-site visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible date, indicating that the country is likely to be removed from its grey list.