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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

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

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried out 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Mastermind of the attacks, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested on July 17 over charges of terror financing by Pak authorities. Pakistan has only recently accepted JuD’s links to terrorism after having termed it a charity organisation for years.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2019 17:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan’s interior minister Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmed revealed government’s funding of JuD in an interview to Pakistan’s Hum News  says ANI
Pakistan’s interior minister Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmed revealed government’s funding of JuD in an interview to Pakistan’s Hum News says ANI(ANI Photo)
         

Pakistan’s interior minister has accepted that Islamabad spent millions on global terrorist, Hafiz Saeed-run banned organization Jamaat –ud-Dawa (JuD) in an attempt to bring it to the “mainstream”. Minister Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmed made the comments on a Pakistani private news channel called Hum News, reported news agency ANI.

“We have spent millions of rupees on JuD. We need to demotivate the members of the proscribed organization and bring them down to the mainstream,” Ahmed Shah was quoted as saying to Hum News by ANI.

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried out 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Mastermind of the attacks, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested on July 17 over charges of terror financing by Pak authorities and is being kept at the high security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

Pakistan had said it had booked Hafiz Saeed and his 12 aides for ‘terror financing’ in 23 cases on the basis of “irrefutable evidence”.

Saeed, along with three others, was declared a terrorist by the Indian government on September 4. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim are the other three designated terrorists.

These four men have been on the US list of designated terrorists for a long time, along with their respective outfits (with the exception of Ibrahim, who doesn’t lead a well-defined group such as the LeT or JeM); and since April 2018, on the UN Security Council’s blacklist as well, with Azhar being the last addition as the result of a US-led effort to overcome years of resistance from China, acting on behalf of Pakistan.

The US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Lashkar chief to justice.

Pakistan’s interior minister’s statement comes close on the heels of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan acknowledging the presence of about 40,000 terrorists--trained to fight in Afghanistan or Kashmir-- in terror camps spread across Pakistan’s big cities.

Khan had also said that the previous governments did not have the “political will” to act against the militant groups operating from Pakistan.

According to an intelligence dossier accessed by the HT, action against terror outfits including Saeed’s JuD could be purely cosmetic, since Pak’s spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) plans to use JeM and LeT to create unrest in the Kashmir valley ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session scheduled to open on September 17. A latest IB input said JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar was released secretly from protective custody to plan terrorist operations.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had said on September 8 that some 230 terrorists backed by Pakistan army and their spy agency had been spotted across the border.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat told HT recently that Pakistan had reopened terror training camps and attempted to push infiltrators. He said that the Indian Army was ready for any eventuality.

According to ANI, Pak minister, later in the show, also said that Islamabad lacked credibility in the eyes of the world and blamed the ruling elite for the situation.

“People do not believe us... in the international community. We say they (India) impose curfew and are not giving medicines to people of Jammu and Kashmir. People do not believe us, but they believe them. The ruling elite have destroyed the country. The ruling elite of this country destroyed the name. People thought we are not a serious nation,” Ijaz Ahmed said,

Ahmed’s statement comes roughly a month ahead of the Financial Action Task Force, or the FATF’s plenary in October. The Paris-based global anti-terror financing body may place Pakistan on the blacklist if Islamabad fails to meet the targets of a 27-point action plan.

Late last month, FATF’s Asia Pacific group found Pakistan to be non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters. On 11 parameters, Pakistan was adjudged as low as 10.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 17:20 IST