LAHORE -- The alleged mastermind of a deadly attack in Mumbai over a decade ago has been convicted in Pakistan on separate terror charges and sentenced to almost six years in prison, his lawyer said Wednesday (February 12).
Hafiz Saeed was found guilty of "being part of a banned terrorist outfit" and for "having illegal property", his lawyer Imran Gill told AFP
He is wanted in India for allegedly planning the 2008 attack in Mumbai, when 10 militants armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and other explosives killed 166 people and injured hundreds more on a three-day rampage.
Gill gave no other details about Saeed's conviction apart from saying he would be kept in a prison in Lahore.
The firebrand cleric -- declared a global terrorist by the United States and United Nations, and with a $10 million bounty on his head -- is the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Islamist charity.
Its militant wing Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is accused by Washington and Delhi of being responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
Saeed has denied involvement but has spent years in and out of varying forms of detention in Pakistan, sometimes under house arrest, on various charges.
Moves against terrorism financing
For the most part he has been free to move at will around the country, enraging India, which has repeatedly called for his prosecution.
The court's judgement, seen by AFP, did not specify which banned terrorist group Saeed belonged to or clarify what it meant by "illegal property", which can refer to money or other property.
Saeed's jailing comes as Pakistan faces potential blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) -- an anti-money-laundering monitor based in Paris -- for failing to combat terror financing.
"The FATF is monitoring Pakistan and government actions against militants and their fundraising and other activities," said Mian Khalil, a senior commerce journalist based in Lahore.
"The conviction of Hafiz Saeed will help Pakistan tackle FATF [requirements] and control of militants in Pakistan", he said.
"Pakistan is going in a good direction, as earlier an anti-terrorism court in Lahore convicted and sentenced activists of another rising religious group, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), to discourage religious militancy," Khalil added.
"We are hoping for good results in view of these convictions," he said.
The conviction of Saeed "is being celebrated at the regional and international level, especially by India," said Shehryar Warraich, a security analyst from Lahore.
The move "will help Pakistan to present a more meritorious case to the FATF", he said.
[Abdul Nasir Khan from Lahore contributed to this report.]