Washington: Ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s crucial decision on whether to blacklist Pakistan, the United States has urged the country to prosecute top Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives along with its leader Hafiz Saeed.
Alice Wells, head of the US state department’s South and Central Asian bureau, welcomed the arrest of the top four leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba /Jamaat-ud-Dawah in Pakistan and wrote in a tweet,
Referring to a previous statement by Pakistan PM Imran Khan, Alice further tweeted,
Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies on Thursday arrested the top four leaders of the banned LeT/JuD on charges of terrorism financing. The top four leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba /Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) arrested on Thursday have been identified as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Ashraf and Abdul Salam.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The US, since 2012, has been offering a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the Paris-based watchdog in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea. Notably, Islamabad had completed 20 of the total required steps, a report quoted Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue as saying.
The Pakistani delegation, led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar, is scheduled to leave for France on October 13 as Pakistan’s case will be taken up on October 14 and 15.