ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan sentenced one of the activists linked to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India, to 15 years in prison for funding terrorism unrelated to the attacks, according to court documents seen by The Associated. Press Monday.
Sajid Majeed Mir, 43, was arrested in 2020 and convicted in May, the documents show, but his detention and conviction were never disclosed by Pakistan. He was wanted by the FBI in connection with the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial hub that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Under its Rewards for Justice program, the United States has offered up to $5 million for information about Mir’s alleged involvement in the attacks in neighboring India.
Court documents did not provide any details about Mir’s involvement in financing terrorism.
In November 2008, a group of 10 young assailants believed to have left Karachi hijacked an Indian fishing boat, killed its captain and took a dinghy to Mumbai. They then systematically attacked high-end hotels, a train station, a hospital and a Jewish community center over the course of three chaotic days. The 10 were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, and Indian investigators later said their actions were directed by telephone from handlers in Pakistan. Nine of the attackers were killed by Indian forces. Ajmal Kasab, the only survivor, was arrested, tried and hanged by the Indian authorities.
Mir was designated a terrorist by the United States and indicted in 2011. He was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Mir’s whereabouts were not made public until Pakistani newspaper The Dawn reported this weekend that he had been quietly arrested in Gujranwala, a town in Punjab province. He said Mir’s sentencing appeared to be part of Pakistan’s efforts to get off the Financial Action Task Force’s gray list.
The Paris-based group added Pakistan to the list in 2018. The “grey list” is made up of countries that are at high risk of money laundering and terrorist financing but have formally committed to working with the task force to to bring changes.
According to Pakistani court documents seen by the AP, Mir was a member of a charity set up by Hafiz Saeed, who had also been designated a terrorist by the US Department of Justice and had a $10 million bounty on his head.
Saeed is the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, of which Mir was supposed to be a member. The group has been active for years in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is shared between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety.
In April, Saeed was sentenced to 31 years in prison for financing terrorism but he was never charged in connection with the Mumbai attacks.
Mir was sentenced to 15 years in prison on May 16 by a court in Gujranwala, according to documents provided to the AP by an official with the Punjab counter-terrorism department. The official asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The official said Mir planned to appeal the conviction.
There was no immediate comment from India on Mir’s sentencing in Pakistan.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained after the attack on India’s financial hub. The rival South Asian powers have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, including two in Kashmir.
Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma contributed to this story from New Delhi, India.