New Delhi: India on Friday stated that the sentencing of Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi to five years’ imprisonment by a Pakistani court was a “farcical” step undertaken to show a “sense of compliance” before upcoming meetings of terror finance watchdogs.
An anti-terrorism court in Lahore sentenced the Lashkar-e-Taiba head for violating three sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 by running a dispensary in Kot Lakhpat to raise funds to sponsor terror activities. Lakhvi was sentenced to five years for each section, which he will serve concurrently. Besides, he was also fined Rs 3 lakh by the court.
During a weekly online briefing, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava dismissed the conviction. “The timing of these actions clearly suggests the intention of conveying a sense of compliance ahead of the APG [Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering] meeting and next FATF [Financial Action Task Force] plenary meeting in February 2021. It has become routine for Pakistan to come up with such farcical actions prior to important meetings,” he stated.
Since June 2018, Pakistan has been on the “grey list” of countries with “strategic weakness” in their anti-money laundering regime as drawn up by the multilateral terror financing watchdog FATF.
At the last plenary of the FATF, Pakistan had been given three more months to fully comply with a 21-point ‘Action Plan’. The next meeting of the FATF is from February 21 to 26. Ahead of that, the regional watchdog, APG, will hold their meeting on January 12.
The Indian foreign ministry spokesperson asserted that UN proscribed entities and designated terrorists “act as proxies for Pakistani establishment to fulfil its anti-India agenda”.
“It is for the international community to hold Pakistan to account and ensure that it takes credible action against terror groups, terror infrastructure and individual terrorists,” he said.
Lakhvi had been arrested in 2008 by Pakistani authorities after the Mumbai terror attack. He was released on bail in April 2015.