Using the recently amended provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the government of India notified four most-wanted terrorists based in Pakistan - Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammad boss Masood Azhar, LeT operations chief and 26/11conspirator Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar - as ‘individual terrorists’.
While LeT and JeM were already banned as terrorist outfits under UAPA, this is the first time that underworld don Dawood, who has been holed up in Pakistan for the past several years with alleged facilitation by Pakistani spy agency ISI, has been designated as a terrorist under an Indian law.
All the four blacklisted terror masterminds are already tagged as ‘global terrorists’ under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and are also subjects of Interpol red corner notices. UAPA was amended last month to allow the government to ban individual terrorists if it believed they are involved in terrorism.
Notifying the names of the Pakistan-based terror masterminds in the Fourth Schedule to UAPA brings the Indian terror blacklist in sync with the UN list of designated terrorists. This also conforms to FATF standards that require all member countries to ban those designated as global terrorists. Since the list is publicised, all financial and other institutions can add these to their respective blacklists. It serves as a tool to prevent access of the designated individual terrorist to funding and other amenities.
Home ministry sources said the ‘individual terrorist’ tag would help Indian agencies with investigation, prosecution and trial of cases registered against the notified terrorists. Listing the grounds for notifying Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist, the home ministry notification said he was involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Red Fort attack of 2000, Rampur attack on CRPF personnel in 2008 and the attack on a BSF convoy in Udhampur in 2015. It said Saeed was an accused in various cases being probed by the NIA, including the J&K terror funding case, besides having been named in the chargesheet filed in the David Headley case.