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Pakistan Defends Handling Of Case Against Extremist Leader

Pakistani security personnel escort Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as he leaves court after a hearing in Islamabad on January 1, 2015.

Pakistan's Foreign Office has reacted angrily to a U.S. State Department statement asking the country to do more to hold an extremist leader accountable.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, leader of the banned Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), was arrested in the eastern city of Lahore on charges of terror financing on January 2.

An anti-terrorism court sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of 300,000 rupees ($1,866) on January 8.

Lakhvi was a prominent figure in the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) charity, which is believed to be a front for LeT, the group blamed by the United States and India for a siege in Mumbai in 2008 in which at least 166 people were killed.

While the United States welcomed the conviction, it said Lakhvi's alleged crimes "go far beyond financing terrorism."

"Pakistan should further hold him accountable for his involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks," the State Department said on Twitter on January 9.

Reacting to the U.S. statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on January 10 that Pakistan "is fully abiding by its own statutes and fulfilment of its international obligations. The investigations, prosecutions and subsequent convictions, through due process, are a reflection of effectiveness of Pakistan's legal system.”

The Foreign Office said on Twitter that "the State Department is encouraged to reserve its concern for the active aiding, abetting, planning, promoting, financing, and execution of terrorist activities by India for which sufficient irrefutable evidence has already been provided."

Lakhvi is accused both by India and the United States in connection with the Mumbai attacks.

Lakhvi is also named by the UN Security Council's sanctions committee for his alleged involvement in militant activity in several other regions, including Chechnya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, and Afghanistan.