Pakistan jails Saudi consulate attacker

KARACHI: A court in Pakistan yesterday sentenced a Shiite militant to 14 years in prison for throwing grenades at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Karachi four years ago, a prosecutor said. Zaki Qazi of the little known Lashkar-e-Mehdi group and his accomplice Tabish Hussain lobbed two grenades at the mission as they rode past on a motorcycle in May 2011, causing no casualties.

Police carried out a raid in November of that year, killing Hussain during fighting and arresting Qazi. Special public prosecutor Shamim Akhtar said: “The court has awarded 14 years’ imprisonment to the accused (Qazi) and confiscation of his property.” Pakistan has since the 1980s been a battleground for proxy groups funded by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Sectarian violence-mainly attacks by Sunni militants on Shiites, who make up roughly 20 percent of the population-has claimed thousands of lives over the past decade.

Donors in Saudi Arabia have long been accused of quietly funding terror groups sympathetic to the kingdom’s hardline version of Sunni Islam. Leaked diplomatic cables by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 said Saudi Arabian donors were “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. The cable cited the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim sectarian militants Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as examples of where funds were being channeled. – AFP

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