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Alice Wells: Arrest of Hafiz Saeed is a “step forward” for the country in fighting terror financing

Alice Wells: Arrest of Hafiz Saeed is a “step forward” for the country in fighting terror financing

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US diplomat Alice Wells says that the arrest of Jamatud Dawa leader and FATF blacklisted terrorist Hafiz Saeed and his aide Malak Zafar iqbal is a “step forward” for Pakistan.

A day earlier, the anti terrorism court covicted the two JuD leaders for 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.

But what is FATF and why should we care?

FATF is the international financial action task force, one the most reputed and fast action task forces in the world. They are known to evaluate the financial aiding of terrorist groups, conflicted regimes and freedom fighting groups. Based on recent events their opinion about Pakistan has drastically changed. Since the arrest of Usama Bin Laden they have created a perception that Pakistan is a terrorist aiding country, whereas now, as Hafiz Saeed is convicted along with his companion, the evidence says otherwise.

Wells, in a tweet by the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs early Thursday, 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”.

Along the thread she has also mentioned Prime minister Imran Khan saying:

ATC-I presiding judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta convicted both the JuD leaders under Section 11-N of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and sentenced them to five years RI with a fine of Rs10,000 each and six months RI under Section 11-F (2) of the Act with a fine of Rs5,000.

The ATC judge observed that in addition to 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 offence 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

The verdict for his arrest came out on the 6th of February for the accusation against Saeed which were of money laundering, terror financing and land grabbing.

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