One of the organizers of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attack had been declared dead. It comes out he is very much alive.
by Massimo Introvigne
According to several Asian media, India has been quietly informed by Pakistan that terrorist Sajid Mir has been captured and sentenced to a jail term of 15 years. There is only one problem about it. Officially, Sajid Mir died in 2016.
Sajid Mir is a senior member of the Islamic ultra-fundamentalist terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and has been called the “chief organizer” of the bloody Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, which left 166 dead and more than 300 injured. The United States and India have tried to capture him ever since. Pakistani leaders reported that he died in 2016, something the American intelligence never really believed.
The Americans were right, as apparently Sajid Mir has now been “resurrected” and sentenced for “financing terrorism,” as happened to other terrorists in Pakistan. It is unclear which court sentenced him, and no other details are known.
Pakistan had a good reason to pronounce Sajid Mir dead. If captured outside the country, he might have confirmed the suspicious connections between Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistani intelligence.
Pakistan has an even better reason to declare Sajid Mir alive and sentenced to jail now. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established under the impulse of the United States for combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. It maintains a blacklist of rogue countries supporting terrorism and a grey list of “opaque” countries that may be suspected of at least occasionally doing the same. Being on the blacklist triggers sanctions, and even being in the grey list put a country at serious disadvantage.
Pakistan has long being included in the FATF’s grey list, until earlier this month the FATF agreed, “tentatively,” to take the country off it. Before finalizing this step, a fact-finding FATF team will visit Pakistan. One of FATF’s problems with Pakistan was precisely that it was protecting Sajid Mir, including by spreading false claims about his death. It is for this reason, and since being taken off the FATF’s grey list is important for Pakistan, that now we learn that Sajid Mir, rather than dead, is in jail. But we don’t know which jail, and on the basis on which court decision. We can thus suspect that the “opaqueness” about terrorism, grey list or not, does continue in Pakistan.