Home News Asia News FATF FALLOUT: Finally Pak Court Indicts 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed

FATF FALLOUT: Finally Pak Court Indicts 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed

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PAKISTAN-LAHORE-MILITANT-LEADER-ARREST by .
Chief of Pakistan's Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed (C, front) leaves after being detained by police in eastern Pakistan's Lahore on early Jan. 31, 2017. Authorities in Pakistan have detained Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the group accused of planning the 2008 attacks in the Indian commercial center of Mumbai that had killed 166 people, the group's spokesman said Tuesday. (Xinhua/Sajjad) (lrz)

The Counter terrorism Department says the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc….. reports Rifan Ahmed Khan

Hafiz Saeed. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Hafiz Saeed, one of the founders of LeT (File Photo)

To compile with the terms of the FATF,   an anti-terrorism court in Lahore indicts Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which more than 160 died in 2008.

Saeed, the chief of the proscribed Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) was indicted along with other JuD leaders, who were booked in July for offences pertaining to terror financing, reported Dawn. In April 2012, the US announced a bounty of $10 million on Saeed for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 civilians.

On Saturday, the court had delayed the indictment owing to unavailability of one of the suspects in a case registered by the Counter terrorism Department (CTD) on charges of terror financing. On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the JuD were booked in nearly two dozen cases pertaining to terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc. These non-profit organisations were banned in April as the CTD, during detailed investigations, found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership. Subsequently, on July 17, Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala on charges of terror financing by the Punjab CTD. He was sent to prison on judicial remand after the CTD presented him before a Gujranwala ATC.

The Game Imran Plays

It was five months ago, Pakistan detained Saeed. What happened to him since then remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma.The Pakistani media is silent. So is the official agency engaged in counter terrorism.

As Sebastian Rotella reports in ProPublica, Hafiz Saeed is hardly on the run. He remains a powerful, high-profile figure who oversees a network armed militants while nursing his political ambitions.  During the last decade, he was detained at least three times, but he was ultimately released without charges or exonerated by the courts.  His commander Zaki-ur-Rehman, who was the hands-on manager of Mumbai attack faced court trial at the heavily-guarded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi no doubt but the court has not pronounced the judgement for the past nine years.

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the Heads of Delegation to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS) by Li Muzi.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Clearly it is grossly naïve to see July detention of the LeT chief, as a paradigm shift in Pakistan policy. It was a farcical ritual that sees no follow up.     More over Saeed faces charges of terrorist financing and diversion of funds from charities, rather than involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

“If Pakistan wanted to send a stronger message, they would arrest individuals indicted by the Americans for killing Americans,” says Jason Blazakis, a US counter-terrorism expert, who is presently a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

His reference is to the fact that U.S. prosecutors had charged Lashkar leaders including Sajid Mir, accused of being the operational mastermind of the plot, as well as a Pakistani intelligence officer in the deaths of six Americans in the assault on Mumbai.  Pakistan has never arrested Mir, despite strong evidence of involvement and whereabouts and pressure from the U.S. law enforcement.

So, no surprise, Hafeez Saeed and his Lashkar-e-Toiba fighters are off the radar. Any how these non-state actors are the darlings of the Army, which is the permanent establishment of the country. Ipso facto it means Saeed and co are untouchables for Imran Khan who is widely seen as the Army selected Prime Minister. Simultaneously, American efforts over the past decade to stymie the Saeed stride have lost steam to the dismay of counter terrorism experts at home and abroad who have been expecting Washington to walk the talk on Pakistani’s key terrorist facilitators, who worked closely with a well-known backer of Al-Qaeda, LeT, and the Taliban.

The US Treasury’s decision to place Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan, and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan on its blacklist of ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’ is reduced to no more than a talking point, though all the three Pakistanis are tied to Shaykh Aminullah, who has been on international terror blacklists since 2009.

Shaykh Aminullah turned the Ganj madrassa, a boy’s school in Peshawar, into a training and recruiting base by Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The three men were involved in providing financial and logistical support, explosives, and technological aid to the extremist groups. Rahman Zeb has been in charge of raising funds and materials for Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Gulf region, and helped Shaykh Aminullah travel to the Gulf in 2014. Hizb Ullah was involved in Shaykh Aminullah´s seminary and helped him on various trips to the Gulf. Dilawar arranged Aminullah’s travels around Pakistan and handled his correspondence and financial transactions.

Neither the US Treasury nor the State Department has commented on the new turn of events in their quest to checkmate LeT.   Also there is no official take on how the Afghan turn would impact the decision to place Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, a charity associated with Hafeez Saeed on the US blacklist of terror organisations.  “LeT has attempted to use FIF as a way to evade scrutiny. This designation will help put to an end to that attempted evasion,” the State Department’s coordinator for counter terrorism, had said in a statement on 25 November 2010.

PAKISTAN-LAHORE-MILITANT-LEADER-ARREST by .
Chief of Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed (C, front) leaves after being detained by police in eastern Pakistan’s Lahore on early Jan. 31, 2017. Authorities in Pakistan have detained Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the group accused of planning the 2008 attacks in the Indian commercial center of Mumbai that had killed 166 people, the group’s spokesman said Tuesday. (Xinhua/Sajjad) (lrz)

Put simply, just when the world is approaching yet another anniversary of 26/11 as a grim reminder of the threat from Islamist militants nurtured in Pakistan, pressure on Pakistan seems to have eased. President, Donald Trump, has gone back on his own assessment of Pakistan as the terror centres in the world.       There is less talk today of state-sponsorship of terror by Pakistan though for rogue Pakistan, it is the summum bonum of its foreign policy.

Why are the human rights campaigners are shy of acknowledging the proven terrorist training and infiltration into Kashmir that has been acknowledged by Pakistani leaders from Pervez Musharraf to Imran Khan.

Also the reality check that Imran Khan has exhibited no concern whatsoever for a meaningful action against the masterminds of the 26/11 terror plot who strut across the country, baying for more Indian blood, raising money and recruiting terrorists with aplomb.

 

 

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