Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Conviction of Hafiz SaeedPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FATF

Mains level : Terror funding


The Lashkar-e-Taiba founder (LeT) and Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was convicted by a Pakistan court in two terror-financing cases and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison concurrently.

Why such move?

  • With pressure from the international community building up, Pakistan has been trying to convince the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to prevent it getting blacklisted.
  • Saeed’s conviction is perhaps a reflection of Pakistan’s changing approach towards its treatment of terror groups, given the FATF’s actions and warnings.

Who is Hafiz Saeed?

  • Hafiz Saeed is the founder and leader of the fundamentalist terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is a group that follows an extreme interpretation of religious texts.
  • It was founded in 1990 and its goals include conducting jihad, preaching the true religion and training the new generation along true religious lines.
  • Some of its goals are aligned with that of Pakistan, including the liberation of Kashmir from India.

Why his conviction matters?

  • Saeed is also the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • Other attacks that LeT has been involved in include the 2001 shootout at Parliament House in New Delhi, and, most recently, the 2016 attack on the military headquarters in Uri.
  • In 2012, in order to support India in its attempt to extradite Saeed, the US State Department offered a bounty of up to $10 million for information that could lead to his arrest or conviction.
  • Moreover, the US Department of the Treasury has marked Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist since 2012.
  • ISI and the Pakistani government too help the LeT bring in funds, and it is believed to have fund-raising offices in Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and the Gulf region.

A shield against FATF actions

  • The FATF placed Pakistan in the grey list in July 2018 nonetheless.
  • Before Saeed’s arrest, the FATF had warned Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing. Pakistan feared being a part of FATF’s “Grey List”.
  • Significantly, if Pakistan did not follow up on FATF’s warnings, it could potentially be downgraded to the Black List, which would make things more difficult for the country.
  • FATF is de facto run by the US Treasury Department.

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