Finally, Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's JuD

Wednesday 06th March 2019 02:11 EST

Islamabad: Following mounting pressure, Pakistan finally banned 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and imposed sanctions listed out by the UNSC. Indian officials, however, said the country is yet to come clean on its intention about going tough on terror. The decision under United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order (SRO), 2019 overrides all the previous local listings of any organisation. It also ensures that the assets of terror groups are frozen and taken over by the Pakistani government. The diplomatic community has stepped up pressure on Pakistan after Jaish-e-Mohammad killed 40 CRPF personnel in a suicide bombing in Pulwama last month.

Despite a global outcry, including the US, UK, France and Germany, Pakistan is yet to act against JeM and its founder Masood Azhar, though it has acknowledged his presence in the country. In fact, the UN sanctions against JuD and FiF came after many flip-flops, clearly establishing it is increasingly finding it difficult to brush terror under the carpet. Earlier in the day, a list from Pakistan's interior ministry's NACTA (National Counter-terrorism Authority) JuD and FiF under the organisation "under watch" despite declaring publically on February 21 that both were banned. The ban had been imposed following a meeting of the national security committee that was chaired by Pak prime minister Imran Khan.

The announcement of banning JuD and FiF came during a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force or FATF in Paris. After its week-long meeting, FATF said it would continue to put Pakistan in its 'grey list' as Islamabad had not demonstrated a "proper understanding" of the Terror Financing risks posed by terror outfits thriving on its soil. Indian officials termed the action an eyewash. "JUD, LeT, FiF have been banned by UN since 2009. So is Pakistan saying they are following that decision now? If so what were they doing all these years," asked a top government source. Both the outfits have already been listed by the United Nations Security Council for indulging in terror activities. In November 2008, nearly 170 people were killed in Mumbai by 10 Pakistani terrorists. The UNSC sanctions list also includes al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and LeT.

Assets likely to be seized

The decision under the UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order (SRO), 2019 overrides all the previous local listings of any organisation that has been given a terror tag by the powerful UN body. The action ensures that the assets of the designated terror groups are frozen and taken over by the Pakistani government. It took 10 years for Pakistan to impose sanctions on 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s JuD after he was listed a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (in 2009).

Action against Maulana Masood Azhar

A media report said that Pakistan may take "decisive action" against Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM), and even withdraw its opposition to the move to list terror outfit's chief Masood Azhar in the UN Security Council terror list. The US, the UK and France had moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.

It is not yet clear what specific action would be taken against Azhar but the official hinted that Pakistan may withdraw its opposition to the listing of JeM chief as global terrorist by the UN Security Council. "The state has to decide whether individual is important or the larger national interest of the country," the official said when asked if Pakistan would no more oppose the UNSC action against Azhar.

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