Ahead of Paris terror meet, Pakistan moves to ban Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa

In a major development ahead of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris early next week, reports have emerged that Pakistan has placed 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) on the list of proscribed groups. According to PTI, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain signed an ordinance last Friday, aimed at reining in individuals and organisations that have been banned by the United Nations Security Council. The development was made public Monday. Last month, the Shahid Abbasi-led government had also banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF and other organisations.

The ordinance amends a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), which will allow authorities to take action against UNSC-proscribed individuals and terror outfits, like sealing their offices and freezing their bank accounts. The move comes ahead of the FATF plenary meeting on February 18, where Pakistan is likely to be “grey-listed” for terrorist financing and money laundering.

The Express Tribune said sources in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) confirmed the new move, saying the ministries of Interior, Finance and Foreign Affairs as well as NACTA’s Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) wing were working together on the matter.

It remains to be seen if the new move saves Pakistan the blushes of being grey-listed again after 2015. A FATF delegation had visited the country in February and reported that Pakistan had fallen short of the requirements by not promulgating legislation to stop money laundering and terrorist financing.

It had also not taken action against “proscribed groups” under UN Security Council Resolution 1267, such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation that continued to operate freely and raise funds, the report further mentioned.

Last month, the government had also banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF and other organisations. Jundullah was the last organisation declared “proscribed” by the government of Pakistan on January 31, 2018 on the NACTA website. Saeed was released from house arrest last November after a Pakistan court said there was insufficient evidence against him. The JuD chief has announced plans to contest this year’s general elections, even though the US and India has pressurised the country to take action against the 26/11 mastermind.

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