Pakistan cracks down on seminaries, health facilities run by Hafiz Saeed
The Rawalpindi district administration took control of a seminary and four dispensaries run by Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.Updated: Feb 14, 2018 22:14 IST
Pakistani authorities have begun taking over some of the assets and facilities of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, both linked to alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, as the government scrambles to avert being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force.
The US, UK, Germany and France have jointly submitted a motion to put Pakistan on the FATF’s “grey list”, which includes countries with inadequate provisions to combat terror financing and money laundering. The FATF plenary meeting to be held in Paris during February 18-23 will review Pakistan’s actions to choke funding for terrorists.
Pakistan quietly amended its Anti-Terrorism Act through an ordinance on February 9 to proscribe terrorist individuals and groups that have been listed by the UN Security Council such as Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Saeed and the JuD and FIF.
A notification issued in the Gazette of Pakistan on February 10 said the federal government had directed that “requisite actions” should be taken for “freezing and taking over of assets (moveable, immoveable and human resource) associated with JuD and FIF” following the amendment of the law.
Rana Sanullah, the law minister of Punjab province, confirmed that the two groups linked to Saeed had been officially banned. “We have received the interior ministry’s directions, and according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been banned from operating in Pakistan,” he said.
“As per the instructions, we have already started taking over all the facilities, offices, schools, dispensaries and seminaries which belong to the JuD and FIF,” he added.
There was also no word on what action, if any, the government would take against Saeed, for whom the US has offered a $10 million bounty. Saeed was placed under house arrest for 10 months last year because of pressure from the US but was freed after a panel of judges ruled there was no evidence against him.
The local media reported authorities in Rawalpindi and other parts of Punjab province had taken control of ambulances, schools and health centres operated by the groups.
The Punjab government took control of the Hudabia Madrassa, which has 300 students, and four dispensaries in Rawalpindi. The seminary was handed over to the Auqaf department which is responsible for religious properties. Authorities were conducting an audit of the madrassa’s finances, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The Dawn quoted an unnamed official as saying that the Rawalpindi district administration had been directed to check the details of students and teachers of JuD-run seminaries and doctors and paramedical staff of FIF dispensaries.
Similar operations against JUD and FIF facilities would be launched at Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum in Punjab province, the report said.
In Sindh, the provincial government has expressed its inability to take over humanitarian operations run by the FIF, Geo News channel reported on its website.
The Balochistan government said there is no presence of JuD and FIF in the province and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is yet to state its position, the channel said.
In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had barred all companies from donating to groups listed by the UN Security Council. The government also issued advertisements directing people not to donate to groups such as the JuD and FIF.
Pakistan’s defence minister Khurram Dastagir Khan said action was being taken against JuD and FIF after “serious deliberations” and not because of pressure from the US.
First Published: Feb 14, 2018 14:17 IST