India awaits credible action on Saeed, LeT

Hafiz Saeed. — file PHOTO: AP  

India reacted cautiously to the Pakistan government’s move on Monday to place Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and four other members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba front, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, under “preventive detention”, and putting their charity arm Falah-e-Insaniyat on it terror watchlist.

Officials suggested that the moves were cosmetic and designed to placate the U.S. government ahead of a major international terror financing conference next month which could pass strictures against Pakistan.

“Exercises such as yesterday’s orders against Hafiz Saeed and others have been carried out by Pakistan in the past also. Only a credible crackdown on the mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attack and terrorist organisations involved in cross border terrorism would be proof of Pakistan’s sincerity,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Tuesday, a day after the detentions and raids at the JuD office.


Pakistan’s military, the government, as well as the Punjab State law minister have issued statements claiming the action was prompted by “policy” considerations and “national security”. However government officials watching Islamabad closely say fears of US strictures on terror financing may have more to do with it, which were heightened by the Trump administration’s threat to add Pakistan to its immigration ban applied to 6 countries so far.

“They (Pakistani officials) are rattled by the travel ban. That would be a big setback for them….So the action is a message to the US that they are ready to cooperate in their fight against terrorism,” a senior diplomat told The Hindu.

On Monday morning, hours before the crackdown on the JuD, Pakistan’s ‘The News’ had also carried a story describing a meeting on January 11th in Washington where Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Jilani was warned by a US Assistant Secretary of State that Pakistan was in danger of being put back on a blacklist of the US-led Financial Action Task Force, after a very negative report on JuD access to terror financing was presented by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering.

While Indian officials could not confirm the meeting, they pointed to the upcoming Plenary Session of the FATF from February 19-24, where Pakistan, who was taken off the list of “high-risk countries of concern” in 2015 could face being put on the blacklist again for “non-cooperation”.

Pakistan’s worries increased because in October 2015, the FATF’s report on “Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks” criticised Pakistan for allowing the JuD or Lashkar e Toiba funds. However, the US didn’t push through with India’s demands to put it back on the blacklist in February 2016.

As Pakistan was expected to submit its report on action taken on the APG by January 31st, the detention of Hafiz Saeed and terror listing was necessary on Monday, officials added, advising a “wait and watch approach” given that Hafiz Saeed has been similiarly detained several times since 2002, only to be left off later, while his organisation, which has changed identities from LeT to JuD to the Falah I Insaniyat to the recently launched Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir, continues to operate freely.

Under the UN ban on the LeT/JuD and Hafiz Saeed after the Mumbai attacks, the Pakistani government has to ensure that they don’t travel out of the country, they have no recourse to funds, nor can they access weapons. However, despite several protests by India at the UN Security Council committee, Hafiz Saeed has often held public rallies, made open calls for “Kashmiri jihad”, while his operations commander Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi received bail in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks case, all of which flout the UN terror rules.

“India has long maintained that the United Nations Security Council 1267 provisions pertaining to listing and proscription of known terrorist entities and individuals must be effectively and sincerely enforced by all member states. We have also consistently called for bringing known terrorists under the ambit of the 1267 sanctions,” Mr. Swarup emphasized in his statement.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 8:28:32 PM |

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