For global terrorist Hafiz Saeed’s ‘living expenses’, Pak goes to UNSC with a request

Pakistan’s request to the UN Security Council committee pushes for letting Hafiz Saeed, chief of UN-designated terrorist organisation Jammat--ud-Dawa, receive Rs 1.5 lakh every month for “basic living expenses”.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed,co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah.(Reuters file photo)
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed,co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah.(Reuters file photo)
Updated on Jul 04, 2020 11:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Shishir Gupta

Pakistan has approached the UN security council committee with a request to let Lashkar-e-Taiba emir Hafiz Saeed to withdraw money for what Islamabad described as “necessary basic living expenses”.

Saeed, chief of UN-designated terrorist organisation Jammat--ud-Dawa was banned in December 2008 by the United Nations Security Council after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. Four years later, the United States had announced a US $ 10 million bounty for his arrest.Hafiz Saeed had tried to get off the UN list earlier this year but the attempt was firmly blocked.

In a request to the UNSC panel overseeing enforcement of sanctions against terrorists such as the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks plotter, Pakistan said one of the bank accounts frozen on UNSC’s orders was one where his pension - Saeed was once a college professor before he made terror his full-time business - was deposited by the Pakistan government.

“His bank account was blocked by the Government of Pakistan under compliance with UNSC resolution 1267, requesting an asset freeze exemption to access frozen funds in the amount of Rs 1.5 lakh (USD 1000 or INR 68,000) to cover the necessary basic living expenses for himself and his family,” Pakistan’s request to the UNSC panel said.

The request has been formally accepted by the UNSC’s 1267 committee. A UN diplomat told HT that the formal approval was practically an automatic process at the UNSC committee’s level once the government concerned, in this Pakistan, supports release of funds of a sanctioned individual for “basic expenses”.

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Incidentally, Pakistan’s request, backing Hafiz Saeed’s claim that he needed money for basic expenses, was filed just a month after the Lashkar founder was taken into custody for financing terror.

Indian officials say Pakistan’s hard push to let the global terrorist access a mere Rs 1.5 lakh from his bank accounts is important for three reasons.

Firstly, it highlights the nexus between Islamabad and jihadists in the country who are backed by the official machinery. Second, it confirms India’s understanding and information about Hafiz Saeed’s clout in the Pakistani security establishment. And thirdly, people familiar with the developments say, it is a “hugely symbolic move” that is seen to support Hafiz Saeed’s claims that he was not the terrorist mastermind that Indian agencies accuse him to be but just another ‘retired college professor’ with a family to support.

Also read: ‘We spent millions on JuD,’ Pak minister admits funding banned terror organisation

The Pakistan request identified 69-year-old Hafiz Saeed’s family, dependent on him, as wife Iffat Idrees, 42, two sons Ismael, 10, and Shoaib, 8, and daughter Sumaiyyah, 6.

Of the Rs 1.5 lakh requested to be released for Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan said he should be allowed to withdraw Rs 50,000 from the bank account where he receives his pension and another Rs 1 lakh as “support from son Hafiz Talha Saeed”.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021