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Pakistan bans TAJK, front for Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah

Pakistan quietly banned the Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir (TAJK), a front for Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah, in the face of growing pressure from the Financial Action Task Force.

world Updated: Jun 30, 2017 20:32 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed speaks to the media after he was put under house arrest on January 30.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed speaks to the media after he was put under house arrest on January 30.(Reuters File)

Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir (TAJK), a front formed by Jamaat-ud-Dawah days after its chief Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest in January, was quietly banned by the Pakistan government against the backdrop of mounting pressure on Islamabad from an international watchdog.

Pakistan’s National Counter-Terrorism Authority added TAJK to the list of organisations proscribed by the interior ministry on June 8.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba, the JuD’s military arm, the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Pakistani Taliban are also among the 65 organisations banned by the interior ministry.

However, the JuD and its other front organisation, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, continue to be on the ministry’s list of “organisations under watch” – meaning they are not outlawed.

The ban on TAJK came into effect less than a fortnight before a plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Valencia, Spain, evaluated the steps taken by Pakistan to cut off funding to terror groups such as LeT and JuD, which have both been banned by the UN and the US.

Sources said Pakistan’s decision to place Hafiz Saeed under house arrest on January 30 was largely prompted by pressure from the FATF and the US. That action was taken weeks before the FATF held a plenary meeting in Paris during February 20-24 to discuss the “global response to terrorist financing” and other issues.

India had raised the issue of groups such as the JuD being able to raise funds across Pakistan without any hindrance at the Paris meeting of the FATF.

At the FATF plenary meeting in Spain, Pakistan’s record of countering the financing of terror groups again came under “close scrutiny”. A report prepared by the FATF was critical of Pakistan’s continued complicity in the financing of terrorist entities.

The report noted that entities designated under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 – a reference to Hafiz Saeed – still received and distributed funds without authorities taking steps to control such activities.

The FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) requested the Asia Pacific Group (APG) to submit a follow-up report on Pakistan following the APG annual meeting in July.

Even if the APG decides not to provide this report, the ICRG has permitted its co-chairs to request Pakistan to provide a comprehensive report in September on steps taken by it to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1267, which asks states to freeze the assets of terrorists, cut off access to weapons and ban them from travelling abroad.

Hafiz Saeed has been closely associated with the TAJK since early this year. He had declared that the JuD would observe 2017 as the “year of Kashmir”.

This is not the first time the JuD has formed a front organisation to evade scrutiny by international bodies. After the JuD was banned by the UN in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, it re-emerged as the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 19:53 IST

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