Highlights

  • Pakistan court sentenced terrorists Sajid Mir to 15.5 years in prison
  • Pakistani officials had earlier claimed that 26/11 plotter Mir was dead
  • Islamabad currently desperate to exit watchdog FATF's 'grey list'

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Pakistan jails 'dead' terrorist to evade FATF 'black list': Lashkar's 26/11 plotter Sajid Mir behind bars

Terrorist Sajid Majeed Mir has been sentenced to 15.5 years in prison.He was part of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack plot, and had been declared dead by Pakistani authorities earlier.

A Pakistani terrorist who plotted attacks against India, claimed to have been dead for years, and suddenly arrested and jailed a few days ago.

In an interesting turn of events, terrorist Sajid Majeed Mir has been sentenced to 15 and a half years in prison. He was part of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack plot, and had been declared dead by Pakistani authorities earlier.

An anti-terrorism court in Lahore issued the verdict in early June. Mir had been incarcerated at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison since his arrest in April. An embarrassed Islamabad apparently tried to keep the case under wraps with the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police not notifying the conviction.

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Sajid Mir is a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who is on the Most Wanted lists in India and USA. He acted as the 'project manager' of the 26/11 conspiracy, and handled the plotting and reconnaissance operations. Mir recruited David Headley, who had visited India to carry out surveys of the areas which were eventually attacked. Mir is also accused of conspiring to carry out attacks in Denmark.

He now joins other top Lashkar operatives in prison. These include chief of the terror organisation, Hafiz Saeed - the mastermind of the 26/11 attacks. He has been sentenced to 68 years in prison in terror financing cases. However, he is expected to spend very little time in jail as the sentences will run concurrently.

Another Lashkar terrorist in jail is Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. He acted as the operational commander of the 26/11 conspiracy. He is also in jail under terror financing charges.

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So, why is Pakistan suddenly taking action against terrorists, after years of letting them roam free?

The country is currently trying to exit the 'grey list' of the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF. Islamabad was placed in the grey list in 2018 for allowing terror financing and money laundering from its territory. In order to exit the grey list, Pakistan has to take action against terrorists. To verify that effective action has truly been taken, FATF officials are slated to visit the country soon.

If Pakistan fails to convince FATF that it is cracking down on terrorist networks, then it might be relegated to the 'black list'. This would lead to imposition of sanctions. Foreign investments and loans will dry up, and trade with other countries will become extremely difficult.

Pakistan is already struggling with economic distress along with political instability.
If the FATF decides to penalise Islamabad, it might just push the country into a Sri Lanka-like situation.

But it is also difficult to believe that a country which has encouraged terrorism for many decades, has suddenly decided to clean up its act. So, is the jailing of sinister terrorists justice, or just a show?

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