Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Pakistan finally declares Hafiz Saeed a terrorist

Pakistan finally declares Hafiz Saeed a terrorist

The move is likely to clear the air on the longstanding ambiguity over the status of 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avert being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with terrorist financing regulations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a measure officials fear could hurt its economy.

Islamabad denies assisting militants in Afghanistan and India.

The organisation in its last plenary meeting, held in November in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, had instructed Pakistan to submit a compliance report on the action it took against Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawah at the upcoming plenary in Paris.

Ahead of this amendment, United Nations identified groups and people banned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Pakistan from collecting donations in the country.

The ordinance amending a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of Pakistan enables authorities to take action against individuals and terror outfits proscribed by the UNSC, by sealing their offices and freezing their bank accounts, local media reported. Pakistan has informed the committee of the decision it has chose to undertake.

Amid increasing pressure from the worldwide community, Pakistan on Wednesday began seizing assets and funds belonging to Islamic charities linked to a radical cleric wanted by the US, officials said. Will Pakistan go as far as actually arresting Saeed and trying him for his crimes, including the attack on Mumbai?

Washington and the United Nations say JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation are a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, which Saeed founded in 1987.

"We are now working with the US, UK, Germany and France for the nomination to be withdrawn", Ismail said. Pakistan was on the grey list of FATF earlier from 2012 to 2015.

Amid the constant insistence, Pakistan announced hefty punishment and fines to those providing funds to 72 banned groups including Saeed's JuD. This time too Pakistan government has taken action just days before the crucial meeting although no decision has been taken to detain Hafiz Saeed.

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