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Pakistan plans permanent ban on Hafiz Saeed’s JuD, other terror groups: Report

A draft bill to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, proposes permanently banning terror groups, and is backed by the country’s military establishment, Dawn reported.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2018 22:14 IST

Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Hafiz Saeed (centre) at a protest rally in Lahore on April 6, 2018.  The US declared Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
Hafiz Saeed (centre) at a protest rally in Lahore on April 6, 2018. The US declared Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.(AFP)
         

The Pakistan government is working on a draft bill to permanently ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other terror groups and individuals on the interior ministry watch list, local media reported on Sunday.

The bill will look to replace the presidential ordinance that amended the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to include entities listed by the UN Security Council as proscribed groups.

The Daily Dawn newspaper, citing sources in the law ministry, reported that the proposed draft bill to amend the act was likely to be tabled in the upcoming session of the National Assembly, scheduled to commence on April 9. The law ministry was involved in the process for the purpose of vetting the proposed draft bill. The report said country’s powerful military establishment was also on board.

Special assistant to the prime minister Zafarullah Khan was quoted as saying that the amendment to the act was a subject of the interior ministry. He added the law would not introduce anything new and would basically ensure compliance of Security Council resolutions.

The report said the government decided to prepare the draft bill as part of its damage-control campaign after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) approved a nomination proposal tabled jointly by the US, the UK, France and Germany to place Pakistan on the international watchdog’s money-laundering and terror-financing grey list in February.

Pakistan is also said to be preparing a consolidated database of known terrorists and terror organisations which will be accessible to financial institutions and law enforcement agencies to strengthen the regime against money laundering and terror financing.

On February 12, President Mamnoon Hussain promulgated an ordinance to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act, which expires in 120 days. The National Assembly can extend it for another four months, after which it has to be tabled before both the National Assembly and Senate for further extension.

The ordinance has already been challenged by JuD chief and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in the Islamabad high court. He claimed that the ordinance had been promulgated due to external pressure and hence was not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

First Published: Apr 08, 2018 14:35 IST

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