Pakistan’s government orders survey for taking over more JuD assets

Several madrassas and other facilities run by the JuD and FIF, both linked to alleged 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, have been taken over by authorities in Pakistan.

world Updated: Feb 18, 2018 09:16 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Hafiz Saeed,Jamaat-ud-Dawah,Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation
Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed seen at a news conference in Lahore on January 23. (AFP File Photo)

Pakistani authorities have ordered a survey for taking over more seminaries and healthcare units run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and to gather more information on the activities of the group, according to a media report on Saturday.

Several madrassas and other facilities run by the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, both linked to alleged 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, were taken over by authorities in Punjab province after Pakistan amended its anti-terrorism law to include individuals and entities sanctioned by the UN Security Council in the list of proscribed groups.

The Punjab government directed the Rawalpindi district administration to conduct the survey and to seek information on the activities of the JuD from cantonment administrations, the Dawn newspaper reported.

However, there was no indication that the government planned to act against Saeed, whose arrest and prosecution has been demanded by the US. On Friday, Saeed attacked the Pakistan government and the US, saying: “Our rulers are making this country an American colony.”

The action against Saeed’s groups was taken ahead of a crucial plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), beginning in Paris on February 18, that will review Pakistan’s efforts to stop terror financing.

The Islamabad administration has presented a report to the federal government about JuD’s healthcare and education facilities which it has taken over. The Islamabad Capital Territory’s (ICT) administration has taken control of three JuD-run dispensaries and confiscated seven ambulances.

Islamabad deputy commissioner Mushtaq Ahmed said the administration had taken over facilities in Shareefabad, Ghouri Town and Quba Mosque at Sector I-8 in the federal capital. “The ICT health department looks after the dispensaries while the ambulances have been handed over to Red Crescent,” he said.

Referring to JuD’s main centre in Islamabad’s Sector I-8, Ahmed said there was no seminary at the site. The government had directed authorities to take over only seminaries, schools and dispensaries, and not mosques. However, the JuD had been stopped from conducting any activity at the sector I-8 mosque, he added.

Three cases had been registered at as many police stations against advertisements for the collection of donations last week. He said the ICT conducted a survey in Islamabad and found no seminary or school was run by the JuD.

Reports said the JuD office in Multan city of Punjab had also been taken over by authorities.

Zahid Iqbal, a regional administrator for the Auqaf department, which is responsible for religious properties, said there were many mosques in Rawalpindi run by the JuD but the government’s main focus is taking control of seminaries and dispensaries.

“At present, we control a seminary in Rawalpindi, not mosques as mostly activities are held in seminaries, schools and health units,” he said.

In 2017, a private group received permission from the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board for building a commercial-cum-education building. But the cantonment board stopped the work after receiving information that the JuD was behind the project.

Pakistan has cracked down on the JuD and FIF due to fears that it could be put on a watch list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for failing to act against terror financing and money laundering. The US, the UK, Germany and France have moved a motion to put Pakistan on FATF’s “grey list”, a move that could have significant consequences for the country’s banking sector.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 17:26 IST