Pak bans Hafiz Saeed’s JuD; Imran Khan puts army on standby to ‘respond’ to India
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday authorised the military to “respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure” by India as the government denied any involvement in the Pulwama terror attack that has sent tensions soaring.
A meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by Khan in Islamabad also decided to “accelerate action against proscribed organisations” and to notify Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ut-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as banned groups, an interior ministry spokesman said.
There was no official word on action against the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 troops. The action against the JuD and FIF appeared to have been taken with an eye on the meeting of the Financial Action Task Force in Paris that is reviewing Pakistan’s steps to counter terror financing.
India has pledged a response to the Pulwama attack and dismissed Khan’s earlier offer to aid investigations into the attack and to take action if New Delhi provides “actionable intelligence”.
The National Security Committee meeting was convened to discuss the situation arising from the Pulwama attack, and the “forum noted that the state of Pakistan is not involved in any way, means or form in the said incident”, an official statement said.
The “incident was conceived, planned and executed indigenously”, the statement added, reiterating Pakistan’s offer to investigate the attack and of “dialogue on the issue of terrorism among other disputed issues”.
“At the same time, the Prime Minister authorised armed forces of Pakistan to respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India,” the statement said.
Pakistan will take action against anyone found using it soil on the basis of “the investigation or any tangible evidence provided”. The statement said India needs introspection “to realize that why people of (Jammu and Kashmir) have lost fear of death”.
Khan told the meeting that “this is a new Pakistan and we are determined to demonstrate to our people that the State is capable of protecting them and believes that monopoly of violence stays with State”. He added that terrorism and extremism had affected Pakistan and the region, and that was why Islamabad framed a National Action Plan in 2014 to counter terrorism.
After addressing the “direct threat” to Pakistan, the government is acting to ensure that militancy and extremism are rooted out from society. In this regard, Khan directed the interior ministry and security institutions to “immediately accelerate actions on ground”, the statement said.
As part of this accelerated action, the meeting decided the JuD and FIF “be notified as proscribed organisations by the ministry of interior”, the spokesman said.
In February 2018, former president Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated an ordinance to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act to ban terrorists and organisations sanctioned by the UN’s 1267 Committee. The move had resulted in the outlawing of JuD and FIF but the ban ended when the ordinance lapsed. Before the official ban, the two groups were only on a “watch list” of the interior ministry.