US hails Hafiz Saeed’s conviction as ‘step forward’ for Pakistan | Pakistan Today

US hails Hafiz Saeed’s conviction as ‘step forward’ for Pakistan

–Alice Wells says LeT founder’s arrest will help Pakistan in meeting its ‘international commitments’ to combat terror financing

ISLAMABAD: United States’ Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells on Thursday hailed the conviction of Jamatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his aide Malik Zafar Iqbal as a “step forward” for Pakistan.

A day earlier, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore convicted the two JuD leaders to five-and-a-half-years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) in two cases relating to terror financing. The verdict came days ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) meeting in Paris to decide Pakistan’s grey list fate.

In a series of tweets, Wells said that the conviction was a step forward, “both toward holding the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) accountable for its crimes and for Pakistan in meeting its international commitments to combat terrorist financing”.

In another tweet, she noted that “as Prime Minister Imran Khan has said, it is in the interest of Pakistan’s future that it not allow non-state actors to operate from its soil”.

SAEED JAILED FOR TERROR FINANCING:

ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta found Saeed guilty in two terror-financing cases under Section 11-N of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and handed him five and a half years and a fine of Rs15,000 in each case.

The ATC judge observed that in addition to the evidence presented by the prosecution, both accused also admitted the ownership of the property by Tanzeem Markaz Dawatul Irshad, a proscribed organisation.

“Careful scanning of Section 11-F (1) of ATA 1997 reflects that a person is guilty of an offense if he belongs to a proscribed organisation and it is not mentioned in the said section that the said membership is post-proscription or pre-proscription and in this case … it is established by the prosecution that accused Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Malik Zafar Iqbal belong to proscribed organisation[s] Jamaatud Dawa and Tanzeem Markaz Dawatul Irshad,” observed the judge.



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