The news comes in the backdrop of Pakistan’s renewed efforts to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list
Pakistan has reportedly arrested Sajid Mir, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, and sentenced to eight years in prison, according to Hindustan Times. Mir has been on Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘most wanted’ list even since before the 26/11 attack. Mir is also the alleged brain behind the unsuccessful international terror plot, codenamed the Mickey Mouse Project, against the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, which published the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Interestingly, the news comes after Pakistan spent years denying Mir’s presence and even claimed that he was dead.
Who is Sajid Mir
Mir served as a “handler” for David Headley and others who were directed to carry out actions relating to planning, preparing for, and carrying out terrorist attacks on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Mir is responsible for attacks in about half a dozen other countries, including the US, Australia, France, Denmark and the UK. The US State Department has even offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the most-wanted terrorist.
The FBI has listed the charges against Mir as conspiracy to injure property of foreign government, providing material support to terrorists, killing a citizen outside the US, aiding and abetting, and bombing of places of public use.
“Sajid Mir remains a shadowy figure about whom not much is known. Even his antecedents are fuzzy. Some reports claim that he joined the LeT at the young age of 16 and then rose up the ranks. But other reports, which might be circumstantially more credible, claim that he is a Pakistan Army/ISI member/officer who has been working very closely with the LeT,” according to a 2020 report by Jihad Watch.
A US law enforcement official had once said that “Sajid Mir is too powerful and too well connected for them to go after. We need the Pakistanis to go after the Taliban and Al Qaeda.”
Cause for revelation now
The sudden ‘resurrection’ of Mir should be seen in the context of Pakistan’s renewed efforts to exit the Grey List. The country will continue to be on the Grey List of countries under increased monitoring of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Last Saturday, Pakistan said it was working closely with the FATF to schedule an early on-site visit by its experts to verify the progress made by the country in countering financing of terrorism and money-laundering activities before removing Islamabad from the grey list.
2008 Mumbai terror attacks
The ghastly Mumbai terror attacks began on 26 November 2008 and lasted for four days, killing 166 people and injuring over 300.
On that unfortunate day Mumbai witnessed 10 Let terrorists coming to Mumbai via sea route from Pakistan to carry out a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across the financial capital of India.
After sailing to the city under the cover of darkness, the terrorists targeted major landmarks of Mumbai with the first attack taking place at the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station.
Ajmal Amir Kasab and Ismail Khan carried out the attack at this station, killing as many as 58 people and injuring over 100.
Kasab and Khan later entered to attack Cama Hospital, but the same was thwarted by the alertness of the hospital staff. They, however, killed six police officials, including the city’s Anti-Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkare in an ambush after leaving the hospital.
They also attacked Nariman House business and residential complex among several other locations.
With inputs from agencies
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