UNSC committee allows Hafiz Saeed to withdraw money for basic expenditure

The decision is in response to a request made by Pakistan, says a notification from 1267 Committee

September 26, 2019 01:21 pm | Updated 10:40 pm IST - New York

Hafiz Saeed. File

Hafiz Saeed. File

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Committee has allowed Pakistan-based UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed limited access to his otherwise sanctioned bank account.

Saeed is wanted by India in connection with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The UNSC decision is in response to a request made by Pakistan to which no objections were raised, as per a notification dated August 15 from the 1267 Committee, a UNSC committee that designates and sanctions terrorist entities and individuals.

“The Chair has the honour to refer to his draft letter to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan communicating the Committee’s decision with respect to the intention of the Pakistani authorities to authorise certain expenditures to the benefit of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, and Zafar Iqbal, to cover basic expenses as specified in the note verbale of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan...” , the notification said.

FATF’s questions

Pakistan’s decision to apply for funds for Hafiz Saeed follows questions raised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year. Pakistan’s letter had requested that Saeed be allowed access to a total of 1,50,000 Pakistani rupees a month to cover his and his family’s expenses.

The APG (Asia Pacific Group) sub-group meeting in Beijing in May 2019 had asked Pakistan for details of how more than 100 UN-sanctioned entities, including Saeed, were sustaining themselves.

Providing any of these entities access to funds without UNSC approval is a violation of Pakistan’s commitments and part of the 27-point action plan that it is expected to be approved on ahead of the FATF meet in November that will decided on its “greylist” status.

Saeed, who heads the Jamaat Ud Dawa (the political arm of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba), has had his financial assets frozen and is under a travel ban since he was designated by the 1267 Committee in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and Al Qaeda and for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both entities.” The notice also says no objections were raised within the stipulated deadline.

It is significant that no objections were raised to Pakistan’s request on behalf of Saeed as the U.N. General Assembly is under way and the India-Pakistan relationship, especially the tensions around Kashmir and terrorism, is under intense scrutiny. Prime Minister Modi also strongly hinted that Pakistan was the hub of terror during a speech at the Howdy Modi diaspora rally on Sunday and the Indian government’s summary of the bilateral between Mr. Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump said that the two sides had discussed terror. (The U.S. readout of the meeting did not, significantly, mention a discussion around terror.)

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had said in New York earlier this week that India would talk to Pakistan only after Pakistan stopped supporting terror groups. The Hindu has reached out to India’s U.N. envoy Syed Akbaruddin as well as the U.S. mission to the United Nations for a comment on the story.

(With inputs from New Delhi bureau)

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