Pakistani authorities have for the first time acknowledged Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah ( JuD) as an “alias” of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in an order directing TV channels and radio stations to blank out coverage of terror groups.
A directive issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday listed the JuD and its welfare wing Falahi-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as aliases of the LeT, in a significant departure from Islamabad’s earlier stand.
“The list circulated vide letters under reference included S.R.O 879 (i)/2005 on 19.08.2005 ( against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba ( LeT), S.R.O 1236 (i)/2012 on 11.12.2008 against Jamaat-ud-Dawa ( JuD) as an alias of LeT and S.R.O 267(i)2012 on 16.04.2012 (against Falahi-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as another alias of LeT) to implement the sanction measures inline with UN Security Council decisions, the PEMRA notification said.
The directive said all satellite TV channels and FM radio stations were “strictly directed not to give any kind of coverage to any proscribed organisation, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) in breach of the obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions”.
It added, “Moreover, any advertisements for fund collection by proscribed organisations in electronic media shall also constitute a breach of these obligations.”
The new directive to the TV channels and radio stations was issued under the provisions of the law governing the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which prohibits the broadcast of content that is “likely to cause hatred...or is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order”. It also bars the media from airing content that is “likely to incite, aid, abet, glamorise or justify violence”.
The LeT, which was founded by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, is among the 60 terrorist organisations banned in Pakistan. The JuD, however, continues to be only under a “watch list” in the new list of terror and extremist groups circulated on October 28 by Pakistan’s interior ministry.
The JuD – which was named as a front for the LeT by the UN Security Council in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks – is among a dozen groups that have been sanctioned under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
Pakistan has not yet issued a formal notification to ban the JuD. The outfit has a strong presence in the Pakistani media and Hafiz Saeed appears regularly on news programmes and talks shows on TV channels.