Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's charities; seizes his offices, assets

Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's charities; seizes his offices, assets Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's charities; seizes his offices, assets
Melinda Barton | 16 February, 2018, 02:37

Pakistan on Wednesday began seizing assets from Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD), a UN-designated terrorist organisation, whose leader Hafiz Saeed is a prime suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, officials said. The order was issued after Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain signed an ordinance last Friday, aimed at reining in individuals and organisations that have been banned by the United Nations Security Council, and came in the backdrop of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris on Sunday.

"As per the instructions, we have already started taking over all the facilities, offices, schools, dispensaries and seminaries which belong to the JuD and FIF", Al Jazeera quoted Rana Sanaullah, law minister for Punjab province, as saying. This included 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services.

"We have received the interior ministry directions, and according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been banned to operate in Pakistan", Sanaullah told Reuters.

The U.S. has labeled JuD and FIF "terrorist fronts" for Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure" or LeT), a group Saeed founded in 1987 that the U.

A security official said that it would remain hard for the provinces to implement the decision if both groups were not included in Schedule I through a separate notification by the interior ministry. Pakistan had been on the grey list of FATF for three years from 2012 to 2015.

The notification quotes that the federal government directs to take action to freeze and take over the assets of Jamaat-ud-dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and shall be taken in pursuance of Ordinance No. 2, 2018.

In the city of Rawalpindi, located in Punjab province adjacent to the capital Islamabad, district officers had begun taking over the charities' offices, a city official said.

"There is no justification for the USA move as we have already taken the required actions", Miftah Ismail, an advisor to the prime minister on finance, who effectively acts as the finance minister, told local broadcaster Geo News.

Reacting to the government's move, a JuD spokesman said the action is an attempt to "appease the U.S and India".

Saeed further said the Pakistan government's crackdown against the seminaries and health facilities linked to him is "illegal" and it will be challenged in a court of law. "We've completed the takeover", Rawalpindi commissioner Nadeem Aslam told Reuters.

Saeed, one of the founders of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure" or LeT), is banned on the global terrorism blacklist maintained by the United Nations. Officials at FIF could not be reached for comment, nor could Hafiz Saeed himself, who rarely speaks to the media.