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Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of 26/11 attacks, likely to be released after FATF verdict: Sources

Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of 26/11 attacks, likely to be released after FATF verdict: Sources

Pakistani terrorist and Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is likely to be released after the verdict by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), according to sources. Saeed, a UN-designated 'global terrorist'' and the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks (aka the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack), was on Wednesday sentenced by a Pakistani court to 11 years' prison in two cases relating to terror financing.

The FATF meeting on February 16 will, in fact, decide whether Pakistan is to be blacklisted for failing to act against terror. Saeed's lawyer has said that the judgment will be challenged in the Lahore High Court. According to informed sources, there are international loopholes in the FATF verdict that would allow Saeed to likely be released.

According to Pakistan-based news agency Dawn, Saeed's counsel argues that his client was convicted for no other reason than due to FATF's "pressure" ahead of its upcoming meeting. The publication further said that besides being involved in foreign theatres and the ensuing opprobrium this has brought to Pakistan, the fact is that LeT- JuD terrorists have also contributed to instability within the country.

Saeed is also the co-founder of LeT and chief of JuD, based mainly in Pakistan.

The Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD)-led LeT has maintained links with the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as with elements that evolved into the Punjabi Taliban.

However, a major point that the conviction of the JuD chief raises is that, in Pakistan, terror groups are proscribed while their leaders and cadres continue to operate as per routine.

Informed sources said that Pakistan Army continues to provide logistics, training, and funds to these terrorist outfits and use them as proxies against its neighbours, India and Afghanistan.

Many of these outfits are engaged in the illegal drugs trade and earn handsome revenue to maintain their cadres.

The Government of Pakistan in June 2018 made a commitment to work with the FATF to plug the loopholes. But a review by the intergovernmental organisation in October 2019 revealed a "lack of progress" by Pakistan Government to address its terror financing risks.

The FATF noted that Pakistan had only largely addressed five of the 27 items on the action plan, with varying levels of progress made on the rest.

(Inputs from



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