After being put on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan is working on a law to replace the presidential ordinance which banned Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation in February this year.
Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday, quoting Law Ministry sources, that a draft Bill to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 was likely to be tabled in the upcoming session of the National Assembly, which is to commence on Monday.
The move comes ahead of visit by an FATF delegation to Pakistan on April 19 to examine the measures taken by Islamabad to curb terror financing.
JuD has been banned but not put on Schedule 1, which would have made mandatory to detain its chief. Further, a presidential decree is only issued for four months after which it lapses.
Zafarullah Khan, adviser to the Prime Minister on law, said that the proposed legislation would ensure full implementation of UNSC resolutions against Saeed and JuD.
New terrorist database
Apart from introducing specific legislation to permanently ban Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Pakistani government is also preparing a consolidated database of known terrorists and terrorist organisations.
The database, which would be accessible to the country’s financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, will help the regime to tackle money laundering and terror financing.
Islamabad had declared the JuD banned in February and taken control of its assets, including schools and health centres. However, Saeed was not detained.
Dawn reported on Sunday that the government’s move to prepare a draft Bill that would amend the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 1997 is part of its damage control campaign after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the country on its money laundering and terror financing grey list in February.
Ahead of the FATF meeting in Paris, President Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated an ordinance in February amending the ATA to include entities listed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as proscribed groups.
Amendments were made to the ATA’s Section 11-B, which sets out parameters for proscription of groups; and Section 11-EE, which describes the grounds for the listing of individuals. In both sections, Sub-Section ‘aa’ was added.
According to the sub-section, organisations and individuals “listed under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948 (XIV of 1948), or” will be included in the First Schedule (for organisations) and Fourth Schedule (for individuals), respectively.
Freezing, seizure rules
The Dawn report on Sunday said that the government would also work on the ATA’s freezing and seizure rules and ensure that Anti-Terrorism Amendment Ordinance 2018 is enacted through the Parliament, according to the draft action plan.
Saeed, who has been declared a global terrorist by the UN, has challenged the JuD ban in Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court. He claims that these steps were taken under pressure from the U.S. and India.
Saeed was under detention for about nine months last year but released by Lahore High Court after the government failed to bring specific charges.
The JuD is believed to be a front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the Mumbai attacks of 2008.