Pakistan's move to place Hafiz Saeed's JuD in banned outfits list is nothing but a farce

Saeed’s LeT has been a banned outfit in Pakistan since January 2002. Yet, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind continues to operate with impunity from Pakistani soil and even contest elections.

On March 5, Pakistan announced that its interior ministry has placed 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) in the list of banned organisations.
According to Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA) list, which was updated on March 5, JuD and FIF were among 70 organisations proscribed by the Ministry of Interior under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Before this, the two organisations were reportedly in their ‘under watch’ list since 2017. However, the move to ban these organisations is not a new tactic and has been a part of Pakistan’s playbook to ward off international pressure.

Action against Saeed's LeT mere lip service
Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has been a banned outfit in Pakistan since January 2002. Yet, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind continues to operate with impunity from Pakistani soil.

In January 2017, Saeed, along with four of his aides, was detained by Pakistan’s Punjab Government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act. He was under “house arrest” until November 2017 when he was let free due to “lack of evidence”. This, after India sent dossiers of evidence against LeT and Saeed’s involvement in the attack that killed 174 people and injured more than 300.
The Indian dossier even claimed that the crucial evidence provided by the FBI was also not included in Pakistan’s chargesheet.

Saeed contests elections in Pakistan
Nearly four weeks after he was freed from house arrest, Saeed floated a political party called the Milli Muslim League (MML). Even though his party was denied recognition, it managed to contest for prime ministerial elections in Pakistan in July 2018. The JuD fielded more than 265 candidates, including his son and son-in-law.
If this was not enough, the MML office was inaugurated from the National Assembly Constituency of Lahore district -- a seat which is traditionally contested and won by the Sharifs since 1985 -- in an attempt to challenge Sharif’s dispensation in his own turf. The finishing touch was former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf saying that he was open to an alliance with the MML after saying that he was the “biggest supporter” of Hafiz Saeed.
The US had to slip in a not-so-subtle reminder at that time to rejig Pakistan’s memory that there is $10 million bounties on Saeed, who was proscribed by the United Nations Security Council in 2008.

Musharraf admits JeM acted on orders of Pakistani intelligence
More recently, Musharraf admitted that the Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for killing 40 CRPF jawans in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, carried out attacks in India on the instruction of Pakistani Intelligence agencies during his tenure.

When asked why did he not take action against JeM, which had also tried to assassinate him in two attempts, Musharraf said: “Those were different times. Our intelligence men were involved in a tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan. This was continuing at that time and amid all of this, no major action was taken against the Jaish. And, I also did not insist.”
Musharraf, who was the President of Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has been living in Dubai since March 2016. He is facing a treason case for suspending the Constitution on 2007.
The JeM, which has been on Pakistan’s list of proscribed organisations since January 2002, has conducted major terror attacks in India, including the attack on military instalments in Pathankot and Uri in January and September 2016, respectively.

Pak foreign minister accepts Azhar in country, but can't take action
In February, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had told CNN, during an interview, that Azhar is in Pakistan, but the government can act against him only if India presents solid and inalienable evidence that can stand in a court of law.
Meanwhile, Pakistan issued another notice on March 4 saying that it was freezing the assets of LeT and Hafiz Saeed through a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) under the UNSC Act of 1948. Pakistan had the gumption to do so 13 years after the UN had banned him.
SROs are reportedly not prosecutable in courts and do not place any liability or penalty on any financial entity or government functionary who does not implement it.
Then what reason do we have to believe that this move is not a charade being played by Pakistan to pacify the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is due to take a decision on whether to move Pakistan from the grey to the black list in October this year?



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