LHC sentences LeT cmdr Lakhvi to 15 years

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LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism (ATC) today (Friday) sentenced Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, leader and commander of proscribed organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs300,000 in a terrorism financing case.

Lakhvi has now been sent to Central Jail, Adiala, to serve out his sentence. The court also directed law enforcement agencies to arrest the co-accused in the case, Abu Anas Mohsin, due to availability of sufficient evidence against him.

In a statement issued on Jan 2, officials said Lakhvi was arrested by the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in an intelligence-based operation from Lahore.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi

The statement said he was suspected of running a medical dispensary to collect and disburse funds for financing terrorism, had been charged under relevant sections of the ATA and would be brought before an ATC in Lahore.

In its written order issued today, the ATC found Lakhvi guilty under three sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, for running a dispensary in Kot Lakhpat to raise funds for financing terrorism.

Lakhvi was sentenced to five-year prison terms under each section, to be served concurrently, with an additional fine of Rs300,000. The court also handed over possession of the said dispensary to the state.

The Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Saturday arrested Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, leader of proscribed organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), in an intelligence-based operation from Lahore, a spokesperson for the CTD said in a statement.

Lakhvi was running a medical dispensary to collect and disburse funds for financing terrorism, it added.

“He & others also collected funds from this dispensary and used these funds for further terrorism financing. He also used these funds for personal expenses,” the statement read.

A case of terrorism financing was registered against Lakhvi by the Punjab CTD at its Lahore station, it said, adding that his trial would be held before an anti-terrorism court in Lahore.

As leader of the banned militant group, LeT, Lakhvi is blamed by the United States and India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was first arrested in 2008 but was later released on bail.

The US has welcomed the arrest of Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in Pakistan, terming it an “important step” in holding him responsible for his role in supporting terrorism and its financing.

“We welcome Pakistan’s arrest of terrorist leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as an important step in holding him responsible for his role in supporting terrorism and its financing,” the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department said in a tweet. “We will follow his prosecution and sentencing closely and urge that he be held accountable for his involvement in the Mumbai attacks,” it said on Tuesday.

India has long called on Pakistan to bring Lakhvi to trial, but Islamabad says Delhi has not provided concrete evidence to try the LeT leader.

A UN Security Council sanctions committee says Lakhvi is LeT’s chief of operations and accuses him of being involved in militant activity in a number of other regions and countries, including Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.