A court in Pakistan has sentenced to prison three leaders of Jamat-ud-Dawa, an organisation accused by India and the United States of masterminding the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. The sentencing comes ahead of a September deadline for Pakistan to avoid being blacklisted for failing to curb terror financing by global financial watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Inclusion on the blacklist, alongside Iran and North Korea, would mean being shunned by international financial institutions. The watchdog has called for Pakistan to prosecute those funding terrorism, as well as to enact laws to help track and stop terror financing. Malik Zafar Iqbal and Abdul Salam were each handed 16-1/2 year total sentences on four charges, to be served concurrently, while a third man, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, got 1-1/2 years on one charge, according to a court judgment seen by Reuters.
The men were associates of Hafiz Saeed, who was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison in February. All the sentences are concurrent so Saeed, Iqbal and Salam will serve five years. Saeed founded and led Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure, a group blamed by India and the United States for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 160 people, including Americans and other foreigners.
Saeed and his associates also face a further slew of cases for allegedly financing militant activities, while Iqbal and Makki have already been convicted in several cases. Saeed says his network, which spans 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, has no ties to militant groups. Jamat-ud-Dawa funds the militant wing LeT.
A 2011 U.S. sanctions designation describes Iqbal as a co-founder of LeT and in charge of its financing activities. Salam is described as the interim leader of the group during the brief periods when Saeed was arrested in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, and running its network of seminaries.