NEW DELHI: Indian mandarins are not unduly excited over the ordinance passed by the Pakistan President banning Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation — all headed by Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.
The presidential amendment allows the government to seal the offices and freeze all assets of these organisations and their associates. While some say the move comes due to Indian and US pressure, the ban comes just before the three-day meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris on Sunday.
The 37-member grouping, set up in 1989 to review and counter money laundering and terrorist financing techniques, maintains a grey and black list of nations. There were reports that Pakistan was likely to be grey listed this year for allowing terror groups to operate freely and raise funds despite being proscribed by the UN Security Council. Pakistan was on the grey list of FATF earlier from 2012 to 2015.
In November, the FATF plenary in Buenos Aires had asked Islamabad to provide a compliance report on action taken against Lashkar-e-Taiba and JuD. A special UN team had visited Pakistan last month to monitor the progress made on sanctions placed on these outfits.
Soon afterwards, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan issued a notification to prohibiting companies from “donating cash to the entities and individuals listed under the UNSC sanctions committee’s consolidated list, “ which includes the Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, JuD and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Saeed was placed under house arrest early last year, but freed in November after the government failed to convince the Lahore High Court about the reasons for his detention. The JuD and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, which are registered as charities, have decided to challenge the ban in court, with Hafeez Sayeed declaring that Islamabad was doing this under Indian pressure.
“While it is ostensibly a step in the right direction, it is obvious that financial issues were the main consideration here, given that the US has blocked a huge of its aid to Pakistan recently. But what’s to stop Saeed from floating yet another outfit? Will Pakistan go as far as actually arresting Saeed and trying him for his crimes, including the attack on Mumbai? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen,” a senior diplomat said.