Hafiz Saeed’s JuD no longer a banned outfit in Pakistan as ordinance lapses
The judge disposed of the petition with an observation that in case the government renewed this ordinance, the petitioner was at liberty to file another petition against the promulgation of the law.Updated: Oct 26, 2018 18:42 IST
A presidential ordinance that proscribed the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), both fronts for the Lashkar-e-Taiba founded by Hafiz Saeed, has lapsed, a top law officer has informed a court in Islamabad.
Deputy attorney general Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan confirmed that the ordinance had lapsed on Thursday while the Islamabad high court was hearing a petition filed by Saeed challenging the ban on JuD and FIF.
Saeed’s lawyers Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich told Justice Aamer Farooq of the high court that the ordinance had not been extended after it lapsed.
The ordinance was issued by in February by then president Mamnoon Hussain to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to proscribe terrorist individuals and organisations sanctioned under UN Security Council resolution 1267.
The move was primarily aimed at the JuD and FIF, which were only on a “watch list” maintained by the interior ministry, and aimed at deflecting pressure from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, which had been approached by the US and other Western powers to put Pakistan on its “grey list” for failing to curb terror financing.
Despite the action taken by Pakistan, the FATF opted to put the country on its watch list in June. Since then, the FATF has finalised an action plan for Pakistan to comply with in order to be removed from the grey list by 2019.
According to a list updated on September 5 by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority, 66 groups have been banned in the country but JuD and FIF are not among them. The two groups linked to Saeed continue to be “under watch by the ministry of interior” under the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Responding to a query from the court, Saeed’s lawyers informed the judge that the Imran Khan government, which assumed office in August, had not extended the ordinance or tabled it in Parliament to convert it into an act.
Deputy attorney general Khan declined a request from Saeed’s lawyers to make a statement on behalf of the interior ministry regarding the lapse of the ordinance. He told the court that since Saeed had not named the ministry as a respondent, he could not make a statement unless the petition was amended and the interior secretary was added as a party to the case.
The judge said Saeed’s petition had became infructuous as the ordinance had lapsed. He disposed of the petition with the observation that if the government renewed the ordinance, Saeed could file another petition against it.
Saeed claimed he established the JuD in 2002 and had cut off all ties with the LeT. He also claimed Indian authorities were maligning the JuD and that he was kept in detention in 2009 and 2017 due to “Indian pressure”.