Pakistan to crackdown on Hafiz Saeed; seize assets, finances of his charities: Report

Hafiz Saeed carries a USD 10 million American bounty for his role in terror activities.

Pakistan to crackdown on Hafiz Saeed; seize assets, finances of his charities: Report
Pic courtesy: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan government is planning to seize control of charities and financial assets linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, as per a media report.

Pakistan`s civilian government detailed its plans in a secret order to various provincial and federal government departments on December 19, 2017, Reuters quoted three officials who attended one of several high-level meeting as saying.

Marked 'secret', a document from the finance ministry directed law enforcement and governments in Pakistan`s five provinces to submit an action plan for a 'takeover' of Saeed`s two charities, JuD and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation. 

The document, which refers to "Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issues", names only Saeed`s two charities and "actions to be taken" against them, the report further said.

However, the December 19 document gave few details about how the state would take over Saeed`s charities, pending the plans submitted by the provincial governments. It says law enforcement agencies will coordinate with Pakistan`s intelligence agencies to identify the assets of the two charities and examine how they raise money.

FATF is an international body and combats money laundering and terrorist financing. They are said to have warned Pakistan that it faces inclusion on a watch list for failing to crackdown on financing terrorism.

Asked about a crackdown on JuD and FIF, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who reportedly co-chaired one of the meetings on the plan, said he has ordered authorities "to choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan". 

He was also quoted as saying by Reuters that Pakistan wasn`t taking action under US pressure. "We`re not pleasing anyone. We`re working as a responsible nation to fulfill our obligations to our people and the international community," he said.    

On the other hand, spokesmen for the JuD and FIF said they could not comment until they receive official notifications of the government`s plans.

"We don’t have any intimation about any crackdown so far. No one has asked us about our work or assets," FIF spokesman Salman Shahid said.

Saeed was freed by Pakistan on November 24, 2017. He had been under house since January 2017.

Saeed and his four aides, Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain, were detained by the Punjab government under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997. 

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 in which 166 people were killed.

India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to re-investigate the Mumbai terror attack case and has also demanded the trial of Saeed and LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the light of the evidence it had provided to Islamabad. 

Saeed carries a USD 10 million American bounty for his role in terror activities. He was also designated a global terrorist by the UN under the Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. 

(With Agency inputs)