WION Edit: Why Hafiz Saeed's conviction is an eyewash

DelhiWritten By: WIONUpdated: Feb 13, 2020, 02:28 PM IST

Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) has been banned by the United Nations. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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Pakistan's action against Hafiz Saeed is a sham crackdown to escape the scrutiny of a global watchdog.

An anti-terrorism court in Lahore has sentenced Hafiz Saeed to 11 years in jail in two separate cases. The sentence runs concurrently, so he effectively has to spend a little more than 5 years in jail.

Hafiz Saeed was found guilty of 'being a member of a banned terrorist outfit', and for 'having the illegal property'. However, there is no mention of the terrorist acts he has committed.

Hafiz Saeed is the man who masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, but he hasn't been punished for that. 

This a superficial trial by Pakistan to appear as if it's acting against a global terrorist. 

Pakistan has a sword hanging on its neck - the terror funding watchdog - FATF. In just days from now, the Financial Action Task Force will have a crucial meeting. And, FATF has been breathing down Pakistan's neck, they want Pakistan to act against terror financing.

WATCH: Hafiz Saeed's conviction is a sham: 

At the moment, Pakistan is on the FATF grey list. It should be on the blacklist, but some countries have kept it out. Now, FATF is meeting to decide if Pakistan should be moved to the blacklist. And this sentencing is to avoid it. 

In the last FATF assessment, the Imran Khan government had received a harsh rebuke for failing to crack down on terror financing. So it had to show some action and Islamabad came up with this farce.

Pakistan had no choice, the FATF scrutiny has worsened its financial troubles. The economy is in a shambles and after Pakistan was placed on the grey list, it became harder to get foreign loans.

And Pakistan needs loans, it is negotiating the release of the third instalment of funds from the IMF. There is also the talk of the resumption of the military training programme with the United States.

But the FATF designation handicaps Islamabad that brings us to the United States. In the early days of his presidency, Trump talked tough on Pakistan.

But, as the American President winds down his first term, his hard-line seems just bluster and Islamabad still remains in the picture because of the Afghan peace deal.

As Trump gears up to travel to India, his visit will be closely watched by Islamabad. It's an opportunity for the American President to call out Pakistan's action against Hafiz Saeed for what it is - a sham crackdown to escape the scrutiny of a global watchdog.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)