US slams Pakistan for lifting ban on Hafiz Saeed’s terror organisations

Imran Khan's government had neither tried to extend the ordinance that banned Saeed's organisations nor had tabled a bill in the parliament to make it into a law. As a result, the ordinance has lapsed and the UN listed terror outfits are no longer banned in Pakistan

The United States Tuesday slammed Pakistan for effectively lifting the ban on Hafiz Saeed led Jamat-ul-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), which is against Pakistan’s commitment to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and also against its commitments to fight terrorism under the UN Security Council resolution, it said.

Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s outfits JuD and FIF are no longer on the list of banned outfits in Pakistan.

Former President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain had passed a presidential ordinance in February that amended the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and banned the individuals and terrorist organisations listed by the UN Security Council. JuD and FIF were proscribed under this ordinance. The present Pakistan Tehereek-i-Insaf (PTI) government led by Imran Khan, who is known to have a soft corner for terrorists, neither tabled the bill before the Parliament to convert it into an Act nor extended it. As a result, the ordinance has lapsed.

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A US State Department spokesperson while addressing to a question on the recent lapse of the ordinance that led to the lifting of the ban on the two outfits said, “The expiration of the ban on JuD and FIF runs counter to Pakistan’s commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to address weaknesses in its counter-terrorism financing regime.”

“As we have said before, the United States is deeply concerned that this development will jeopardise Pakistan’s ability to meet its commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 to freeze and prevent the raising and moving of funds belonging to or associated with UN-designated terrorist groups,” the spokesperson said.

Hafiz Saeed had filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court challenging the former president’s ordinance under which his terror outfits had been banned for being on the watch list of the United Nations Security Council. His counsel had informed the judge about the lapse of the ordinance due to the failure of the government to extend it or table it before the Parliament for converting it into an Act. Subsequently, the judge said that Saeed’s plea was no longer effective as the ordinance was not extended by the government.

He further contended in the petition that he established Jamaat-ul-Dawa in 2002 and cut off ties with his other banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The terrorist went on to blame India for continuing to malign the Jamaat-ul-Dawa for its association with Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has been persistently pushing Pakistan to castigate the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai blast, Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistani Islamist militant, who is also a co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which was responsible for the attacks in which 166 people were killed. In accordance with Modi government’s ‘no tolerance’ policy, the NIA in January 2018 had filed a charge sheet against Hafiz Saeed, along with others, for instigating separatist activities in Kashmir.

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