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Pakistan Sentences Alleged Leader Of Militant Group Blamed For 2008 Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani security personnel escort Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (center), the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as he leaves a court in Islamabad in 2014.

A Pakistani court has convicted and sentenced an alleged leader of a banned militant group that was blamed for the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks in India.

The Punjab Counterterrorism Department (CTD) said on January 8 that a court in Lahore sentenced Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi to five years in prison and fined him 100,000 Pakistani rupees ($622) in a case of terrorism financing.

Lakhvi was arrested last week, accused of running a dispensary in Lahore as a front for financing militant activities.

He was a prominent figure in the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) charity, which is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), the group blamed by the United States and India for the Mumbai siege in which at least 166 people were killed.

The man was detained days after the attacks but released in 2015 by Pakistani courts.

Last year, JuD leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who denies involvement in the Mumbai attacks, and other members were sentenced to prison on terrorism-financing charges.

The sentences come as Pakistan faces potential punitive blacklisting by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization that underpins the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The organization, which has kept the country on its "gray list" since 2018, urged Islamabad in October to implement a set of guidelines by February next year.

LeT is an Al Qaeda-linked armed militant group fighting against Indian control in the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir and was banned in 2002 after being linked to an attack on India's parliament.

LeT militants have also been accused of carrying out militant activity elsewhere, including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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