LeT operations commander Lakhvi being interrogated: Pak official
Lahore: Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is being interrogated by Pakistan’s counter terrorism authorities in Punjab province, an official said on Wednesday, four days after his arrest.
UN proscribed terrorist Lakhvi, 61, who was on bail since 2015 in the Mumbai attack case, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab province on Saturday, amidst growing international pressure on Islamabad to bring to justice terrorists roaming free in the country.
“Lakhvi is being interrogated by the CTD Punjab in connection with terror financing and related matters. He will soon be presented before the anti-terrorism court in Lahore,” an official privy to the development told PTI.
He said that Lakhvi is kept in a “detention centre”.
“Lakhvi is accused of running a dispensary, using funds collected for terrorism financing. He and others also collected funds from this dispensary and used these funds for further terrorism financing. He also used these funds for personal expenses,” the CTD said.
Police or any other law enforcement agency usually presents a suspect before the court a day after his arrest to obtain his physical remand for interrogation.
“Lakhvi’s case seems to be rare in which he could not be produced before the court four days after his arrest seeking his physical remand,” the official said.
The CTD said that in addition to belonging to proscribed organisation LeT, Lakhvi is also a UN designated individual.
“His trial will be held before the Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore,” it added.
Lakhvi was designated as a global terrorist by the UN in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and al-Qaeda and for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” both the entities.
Proscribed terrorists and entities are subject to an assets freeze, wherein all states are required to freeze funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities, a travel ban that prevents the entry into or transit through nations’ territories by the designated individuals and an arms embargo.
Last month, the UN Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee allowed for a monthly payment of Pakistani Rupee 1.5 lakh for Lakhvi to meet his personal expenses.
The permission was granted 10 days before his arrest. Lakhvi has named his son Hafizur Rehman and brother Saadat Bashir Waheed who would send him Rs 90,000 and Rs 60,000 respectively in his bank account. He said that his son and brother both have the bank accounts in the same branch.
The LeT, led by Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is instrumental in pushing Pakistan to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in Pakistan and using its territory to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere.
The Paris-based FATF placed Pakistan on the Grey List in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic.
ATC Lahore had sentenced Saeed for a collective imprisonment of 36 years in terror finance cases.
He has been in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore since July 2019. There are reports that he is given a ‘VIP protocol’ in jail.
The UN has named Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. (PTI)