World Media

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

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

This included 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. The recent actions have come ahead of the crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris, scheduled to be held from February 18 to 23.

The Ministry of Interior through a statutory notification, available with The Nation, had directed that, "requisite actions with regard to freezing and taking over of assets [moveable, immoveable and human resources] associated with [the] JuD and [the] FIF be taken in pursuance of Ordinance No II of 2018".

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.

Pakistan banned the LeT but allowed its charity wings to continue operating. The government through Parliament has to give this ordinance a legal cover otherwise it would lapse until President of Pakistan extends it for 120 more days.

In the city of Rawalpindi, in Punjab province, district officers had begun taking over the charities' offices, a city official said. "We've completed the takeover", Rawalpindi commissioner Nadeem Aslam told Reuters.

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A spokesmen for JuD declined to make an immediate comment but said a statement would be issued.

Saeed also appealed to his workers not to resort to any violence during the sealing drive.

In 2002, Pakistan banned the LeT as a "terrorist" organisation, and, since 2008, authorities say they have been abiding by United Nations sanctions that subject JuD to an assets freeze, arms embargo and global travel ban. Washington had offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed's arrest and conviction and had dubbed his charities as fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organisation that India and the USA blame for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead. "Pakistan's credit rating may be downgraded if FATF downgraded its ranking for Islamabad", said the official.

Pakistan's de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail, told Reuters the FATF would consider a motion to place Pakistan on the list but the government was "hopeful" it could make its case to avoid it.

But after two years, FATF removed Pakistan from its list in 2015 after the latter while working with the Asia Pacific Group addressed the full range of AML/CFT issues identified in its mutual evaluation report, in particular, fully implementing UNSC Resolution 1267.


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