Most wanted terrorist and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, is being treated as a VIP in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Interestingly, Pakistan yesterday announced that he had been handed a 10-year-sentence by an anti-terrorism court over the charges of terror financing. After the charade by Pakistan of sentencing Saeed, he was seen escorted by his accomplice in his SUV.
In exclusive video footage shared by Kashmiri journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, Hafiz Saeed was seen being led by a convoy of SUVs that are protected by the Pakistani Rangers. Instead of being held up in Jail, the UN-designated terrorist was taken to a Pakistani Army safe house. Kaul highlighted that the judicial action against Saeed comes at the backdrop of the pressure mounted against the country’s establishment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Only in Pakistan. UN designated terrorist & Lashkar Chief Hafiz Saeed who is apparently in ‘Jail’ comes to court in a convoy of SUVs in protection of Pakistani Rangers/Army. Taken to Pak Army safe house instead of jail. Convicted under FATF pressure but in reality in VIP comfort. pic.twitter.com/Xi53Vgjw9e— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) November 19, 2020
Pakistan, a cash-strapped nation, is placed in the grey list until February 2021 by global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, FATF. Non-compliance with its directives might make it difficult for Pakistan to seek financial aid from International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, the European Union and Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Hafiz Saeed convicted for terror financing
Hafiz Saeed was earlier arrested on July 17 last year over charges of terror financing. He was handed 11 years imprisonment (5.5 years in two such cases) in February this year and asked to pay a fine of ₹15,000 in each case. He was lodged at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore along with his accomplice, Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid. Another terrorist, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Al-Anfaal Trust Secretary, has been handed similar punishment. Saeed’s brother Abdul Rehman Makki was also sentenced to 6 months in imprisonment.
Now, Hafiz Saeed and his aides have been handed a 10-year-sentence in two more cases. The anti-terrorism court had also ordered the confiscation of his properties. His sentences is supposed to run concurrently, although he can avail benefits of reduced sentencing under Section 382-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). So far, four cases have been decided against Hafiz Saeed. It is important to note that a total of 24 cases have been decided against the JuD terrorists out of a total of 41 cases. The remaining 17 cases are still pending in anti-terror courts.
However, given how Hafiz Saeed is being treated as a VIP now, it is unlikely that he will face any action and most likely, the sentencing was a mere farce given the pressure by FATF.
UNSC allows monthly pension for Hafiz Saeed
Last year, the United Nations committee has now allowed terrorist Hafiz Saeed to use his bank account for ‘basic expenses’ to help his family. In its letter, the UN Committee said that with no objections being raised to Pakistan’s request for Hafiz Saeed’s basic expenses, the Chair has approved the appeal. Reportedly, Hafiz Saeed’s bank accounts were frozen by the Pakistani government complying with the UNSC resolution. Later, Pakistan had requested the UN to let Hafiz Saeed withdraw PKR 1,50,000 (approximately $1,000) to cover necessary basic living expenses for him and his family.