United States says Pakistan must bring law for terror tag on JuD
The US has called on Pakistan to enact legislation to formally ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), both fronts for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founded by Hafiz Saeed.Updated: Nov 02, 2018 09:35 IST
The US has called on Pakistan to enact legislation to formally ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), both fronts for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founded by Hafiz Saeed, following the lapse of a presidential ordinance that proscribed the groups earlier this year.
A top Pakistani law officer confirmed the ordinance lapsed last week while the Islamabad high court was hearing a petition filed by Saeed challenging the ban on JuD and FIF, which have been designated terror groups by both the US and the UN Security Council.
“The expiration of the ban on JuD and FIF runs counter to Pakistan’s commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to address weaknesses in its counter-terrorism financing regime,” a US state department spokesperson told reporters in Washington .
The development highlighted the importance of Pakistan “urgently enacting legislation that formally proscribes” the JuD and FIF, the spokesperson said.
There was no formal response in New Delhi from the external affairs ministry to the state department’s stance, though a government official said Pakistan’s decision on allowing the ordinance to lapse without it being ratified by Parliament reflects the “lack of sincerity on the part of Islamabad to meet its international obligation to fight terrorism”.
Saeed, who was placed under house arrest for almost 10 months last year, has continued to raise funds for JuD and FIF and call for jihad in Kashmir at public rallies and meetings.
Pakistan’s failure to ban JuD and FIF after they were sanctioned under UN Security Council resolution 1267 prompted several Western powers to put the country on its “grey list” of nations that aren’t doing enough to counter terror financing.
In February, Pakistan’s then president Mamnoon Hussain issued an ordinance to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to proscribe terrorist individuals and organisations sanctioned under UN Security Council resolution 1267. The move was primarily aimed at JuD and FIF, which were only on a “watch list” maintained by Pakistan’s interior ministry. Despite the ordinance, FATF opted to put Pakistan on its watch list in June.
The state department spokesperson underlined the importance of Pakistan complying with its obligations under UN Security Council resolution 1267, which requires countries to freeze assets, enforce a travel ban, and cut off access to arms for sanctioned individuals and groups.
“As we have said before, the US is deeply concerned that this development will jeopardise Pakistan’s ability to meet its commitments under UN Security Council resolution 1267 to freeze and prevent the raising and moving of funds belonging to or associated with UN-designated terrorist groups,” the spokesperson said.
Baqir Sajjad of Pakistan’s DawnNews channel was critical of Islamabad’s handling of the issue. “The ordinance that provided for harmonising the national list of proscribed individuals and groups with the UNSC list was promulgated in February to pre-empt grey listing by FATF,” said Sajjad.
“Later the then government tabled it in the National Assembly for legislation, but neither the legislation happened nor the ordinance was extended,” said Sajjad.