A Pakistani court has convicted three leaders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s brother-in-law Abdul Rahman Makki, in a case of terror financing and given them prison terms ranging from 18 months to more than 16 years.
Makki, a top JuD leader for whom the US state department has announced a reward of $2 million, Malik Zafar Iqbal and Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi were convicted by judge Ejaz Ahmad Buttar of an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on 28 August.
The Pakistani court gave a collective prison term of 16-and-a-half years to Iqbal and Bhuttavi while Makki received a jail term of one-and-a-half years, according to reports in the Pakistani media. Iqbal and Salam were also fined Rs170,000 while Makki was directed to pay a fine of Rs 20,000.
Iqbal and Bhuttavi were named in one of the two statutory regulatory orders issued by Pakistan’s foreign ministry on 18 August to enforce UN Security Council sanctions against hundreds of terrorists and 93 terror entities.
Iqbal was described in the notification as a senior leader and co-founder of LeT who has held various senior positions in LeT and JUD. “As of 2010, in-charge of LeT/JUD finance department, director of its education department and president of its medical wing,” the notification said. Bhuttavi was described as a founding member of LeT and deputy to Hafiz Saeed.
Makki, designated a terrorist by the US treasury department in 2010, has not yet been sanctioned by the UN. He has headed LeT’s political affairs and foreign relations departments and played a key role in raising funds for the group.
The case against the three men was filed by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Pakistan’s Punjab province. They were charged under several provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
In February, Hafiz Saeed and an aide were both given a five-and-a-half year jail term in two cases of terror financing by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore. The case against Saeed too was filed by the Counter-Terrorism Department.
In the latest case, the prosecution said the three men had been using a property in Vehari district that was in the name of Al-Hamad Trust, a banned organisation, to achieve their objectives in terrorism. By using this property, the trust also raised funds for terrorism.
The court ruled this property should be taken over by the state. The Counter-Terrorism Department had registered 23 FIRs against JuD leaders in different cities of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
There was no immediate reaction from Indian officials to the conviction of the three men.
Indian remains sceptical of action so far by Pakistan against LeT, JuD and other groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, with officials saying such steps were being taken with an eye on an upcoming assessment of the country’s counter-terror financing regime by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October.