In a move aimed at cracking down against individuals and organisations banned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain has cleared an ordinance amending a section of the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
As per Pakistani media reports, the move would enable the authorities to act against UNSC-proscribed individuals and terror outfits, including 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, his Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Toiba outfits. Terror groups like al Qaeda and Taliban, which have also been banned by the UNSC, also operate in Pakistan.
As a reported that actions against such individuals and organisations may include sealing of their offices and freezing of bank accounts.
Sources in Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) confirmed the development, 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.
A presidential official also confirmed the development but did not share details, saying the Ministry of Defence was the notifying authority. “The relevant ministry will notify and comment on it,” the official said.
It is learnt that the authorities are bound under international obligations to take measures against such outfits under the framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — an international body that combats money laundering and terrorist financing.
The UNSC sanctions list includes al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Toiba (Let) and others.
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In December last year, the Pakistani government had planned to take over two charities belonging to Hafiz Saeed — the JuD and the FIF — and an action plan in this connection was supposed to be submitted. 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. However, the JuD and the FIF continue to be on the NACTA “watch list”.
Lashkar-e-Toiba was declared a banned organisation under the UNSC resolution 1267 in 2005. The US State Department in 2014 had named the JuD as a “foreign terrorist organisation”, a designation that freezes assets the organisation has under the US jurisdiction.
India also blamed JuD leader Saeed for the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.