According to court papers, Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the terrorist organisation implicated by the US and India for a fatal 2008 assault in India, was sentenced to 31 years in prison for terrorism funding.
Hafiz Saeed was found guilty of many breaches in two cases, but given his present detention and the fact that his sentences run concurrently, it was unclear how much jail time the latest verdict would entail.
“The sentences imposed on Hafiz Muhammad Saeed run simultaneously with this case and any previously imposed terms, if any,” the court said in an order obtained by Shauntv on Friday.
Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, is already in prison, having been convicted of many comparable counts in 2020.
Over the last decade, Saeed has been imprisoned and freed multiple times. He denies any ties to militancy, including the 2008 Mumbai bombings, in which terrorists smuggled in from Pakistan by sea killed 160 people, including Americans.
The US offered a $10 million prize for information that led to his conviction.
The new punishment comes as Pakistan strives to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a worldwide watchdog that assesses a country’s capacity to resist illegal finance, including that to terrorist groups.
Pakistan has been on the “grey list” of the watchdog since 2018.
India has consistently asked that Saeed be brought to justice for his alleged complicity in the Mumbai terrorism attack, but Pakistan has resisted.
Although India has not commented on Saeed’s latest prison term, it did brand his son, Hafiz Talha Saeed, a “terrorist” under the country’s Unlawful Activities Prevention Act late Friday.
India claimed that Talha Saeed, a Pakistani preacher based in Lahore, was engaged in the recruiting, funding, planning, and execution of strikes in India and against Indian interests in Afghanistan.
In a notice, the Indian government stated, “The central government thinks that Hafiz Talha Saeed is implicated in terrorism and that he should be listed as a terrorist under the aforementioned Act.”
India has accused Pakistan of backing Islamist terrorists in assaults on Indian targets across the region for decades. Pakistan disputes this and accuses India of backing separatist insurgents in the country.