In a big development, Pakistan authorities on Wednesday have launched a crackdown on 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, owing to the increasing international pressures to act against terrorist groups.
Pakistan's Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (PCTD) has registered over 20 cases against Hafiz Saeed and his 12 aides including his brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Ameer Hamza and Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Pak media reported.
As per the report, the Counter-Terrorism Department has accused Hafiz Saeed and his aides of ‘promoting terrorism and raising funds to facilitate terror activities’. The cases are registered in Pakistan's Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collection of funds for terrorism financing through assets made in names of banned Non-Profit Organisations including Al-Anfal Trust, Dawat ul Irshad Trust etc.
Pakistan's action has come ahead of the crucial financial bailout meeting between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund in Washington on Wednesday. The executive board of IMF is expected to decide the fate of the proposed USD six billion bailout package to Pakistan.
Earlier in February 2019, Pakistan government banned 11 organisations for having links with proscribed outfits including Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Masood Azhar's Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) - which had long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
In June, the US, the UK and France voiced concern over Pakistan's failure to do enough to contain terror funding in its soil and not registering cases against terror masterminds Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar under anti-terror laws, news agency PTI reported. Several countries expressed this view at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
While Pakistan claimed that it has done enough by seizing more than 700 properties of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), JeM, Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and FIF, similar to what it did as a result of its previous gray listing in 2012, FATF members expressed concerns that there no cases were registered against the terror leadership, namely Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar and other UN-designated terrorists.
Another serious anomaly is that Pakistan's anti-terror law still remains out of sync with FATF standards and also the latest UN resolution 2462, which calls for criminalising terrorist financing.
(With PTI inputs)