Islamabad: Pakistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has lodged 23 cases on charges of terror financing and facilitation against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and a dozen accompliances of the terror group, amidst growing international pressure to act against terrorism. CTD said it registered the cases in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terror-financing through assets or properties in the names of trusts or non-profit organisations as well as five banned outfits masquerading as charity organisations. Pakistan's CTD statement said “Large scale investigations have been launched into matters of JuD, LeT and FIF regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing. They made these assets from funds of terrorism financing, they held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism financing and money laundering under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. They will be prosecuted in ATCs (anti -terrorism courts) for commission of these offences. These assets/NPOs have already been taken over by the government in compliance with UN sanctions.”
According to the official, substantial and irreversible punitive/legal action has been taken against them by the state, making these organisations "fully dysfunctional." Cases have been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) against the leadership of JuD, LeT and FIF (Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation) for gaining assets from terrorism financing through Dawat ul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, Al-Anfaal Trust, Al Hamd Trust and Al Madina Foundation Trust.
It also named the leaders of JuD and LeT who have been booked, including Saeed and his aides Abdul Rehman Makki, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar.
Global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had deferred blacklisting Pakistan, which managed to gain support from China, Turkey and Malaysia. And Pakistan said it remains committed to taking “all necessary measures to ensure completion of the action plan in a timely manner.” However, it accused India of attempting to “politicise” FATF deliberations.
Pakistani authorities in March sealed the Lahore headquarters of JuD and FIF and detained over 120 suspected militants as part of an ongoing crackdown on banned groups. Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The US declared the LeT as a foreign terrorist organisation in June 2014.
India not impressed, says 'cosmetic steps'
India has described Pak crackdown on Saeed and his aides as “cosmetic steps”, and said Islamabad’s sincerity will be judged on the basis of its taking “verifiable, credible and irreversible action” on terror and not “half-hearted measures”. India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India has seen such actions by Pakistan earlier too. “Let us not get fooled by these cosmetic steps. We have seen the course of such actions in the past. We have seen where it goes, where it is headed. Pakistan’s sincerity to take action against terrorists and terror groups will be judged on the basis of their ability to demonstrate verifiable, credible and irreversible action on terror and terrorist groups operating from their soil, and not on the basis of half-hearted measures that they undertake to hoodwink the international community,” the spokesperson said.
He said what India is asking is “very simple. We want a normal relationship in an environment free from terror.” New Delhi, however, said that Islamabad in the past too has booked Saeed and his outfit but never took any action to stop his activities against India. “It is important if this action by Pak is irreversible and verifiable," the official said.