Pakistan jails Mumbai attacks ‘plotter’ for ‘terrorism financing’

Court sentences Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a senior official of armed group Lashkar-e-Taiba, to five years in prison.

Pakistan - India attacks ''plotter''
Lakhvi and the Lashkar-e-Taiba are accused by India and the US of being behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks [File: Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

A Pakistan court has sentenced Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a senior leader of armed group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to five years in jail for “terrorism financing”.

Lakhvi and the group are accused by India and the United States of being behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks – though the charges or sentence are not related to any specific incident.

He was sentenced to five years concurrently on three counts, with a fine of 100,000 rupees ($622) on each count, an order from the court seen by Reuters said.

India has long called on Pakistan to try Lakhvi for the Mumbai attack, in which more than 160 people were killed, but Islamabad said New Delhi has not given it concrete evidence it can use in a court to try the LeT leader, who it had initially arrested in 2008 but later released on bail.

He was arrested again on charges of “terrorism financing” on Saturday.

The US welcomed his arrest but called for him to be tried for the Mumbai attacks, too.

“We will follow his prosecution & sentencing closely & urge that he be held accountable for his involvement in the Mumbai attacks,” the US State Department said on Twitter.

According to New Delhi, the lone surviving gunman of the attack, who was executed in 2012 after sentencing by an Indian court, told interrogators the assailants were in touch with Pakistan-born Lakhvi, who is said to be LeT’s chief of operations.

A UN Security Council sanctions committee said Lakhvi is involved in armed group activity in a number of other regions and countries, including Chechnya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lakhvi’s lawyer did not respond to Reuters’s request for comment.

A spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department said in a statement Lakhvi had been sent to prison to serve the sentence.

Another man India says was the mastermind of the Mumbai siege, Hafiz Saeed, was convicted by a Pakistani court on two charges of “terrorism financing” last year.

Saeed denies involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Source: Reuters