Pak plans takeover of Saeed’s charities

Posted on 02 January 2018 by GGS News

Islamabad : Pakistan’s government plans to seize control of charities and financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who Washington has designated a terrorist, according to officials and documents.
Pakistan’s civilian government detailed its plans in a secret order to provincial and federal government departments on December 19.
Marked “secret”, the document from the finance ministry directed law enforcement and governments in Pakistan’s five provinces to submit an action plan by December 28 for a “takeover” of Saeed’s two charities, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.

The United States has labelled JuD and FIF “terrorist fronts” for Lashkar-e-Toiba, a group Saeed founded in 1987 and which Washington and India blame for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks and a Pakistani court saw insufficient evidence to convict him. The December 19 document, which refers to “Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issues”, names only Saeed’s two charities and “actions to be taken” against them.
The FATF, which is an international body that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, has warned Pakistan it faces inclusion on a watch list for failing to crack down on financing terrorism. Asked about a crackdown on JuD and FIF, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who co-chaired a meeting on the plan, said he has ordered authorities “to choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan”.
In a written reply, he also said Pakistan wasn’t taking action under US pressure. “We’re working as a responsible nation to fulfil our obligations to our people.”
If the government follows through with the plan, it would mark the first time Pakistan has made a major move against Saeed’s network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. The JuD and FIF alone have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers, according to two counter-terrorism officials. Participants at the meeting raised the possibility that the government’s failure to act against the charities could lead to UN sanctions, one of the three officials said.
A UN Security Council team is due to visit Pakistan in late January to review progress against UN-designated “terrorist” groups.

Reuters |

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