Speaking to the media on Friday, the United States of America State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus reiterated that Pakistan should continue taking sustained and verifiable action against terrorist groups operating on its soil. This, she observed, would prevent future attacks and help Pakistan in promoting stability in the region. She termed this as an “international obligation”. Earlier, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had approved Pakistan’s request to allow the terrorist Hafiz Saeed to use his bank accounts for helping his family with basic expenses.
While maintaining that basic exemptions for terrorists designated by the UN were normal, Ortagus urged all countries to prosecute them and take appropriate action, which includes the possibility of an arrest.
"Basic exemption requests for UN-designated individuals are consistent with every member state's responsibilities regarding the disposition of funds to UN-designated individuals residing in their territory. We continue to encourage all member states to fully abide by and implement their obligations under UN sanctions regimes. This includes submitting basic exemption requests for UN-designated individuals and entities, as needed. In line with its international obligations, Pakistan must continue to take sustained and verifiable action against terrorist groups to prevent future attacks and promote regional stability," the spokesperson remarked.
The UN Sanctions Committee has revealed that they had received a request from Pakistan to allow Saeed to withdraw a specific amount of money from his frozen bank account, in a letter dated August 15. It stated that the approval was granted after nobody raised an objection.
"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 Muhammad Saeed (QDi.236), Haji Muhammad Ashraf (QDI.265) and Zafar Iqbal (QDI.308) to cover basic expenses, as specified in the note verbale of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan pursuant to paragraph 81 (a) of resolution 2368 (2017). The chair wishes to inform the members that no objections were placed by the set dateline of 15 August 2019 at 3:00 p.m. for the consideration of the draft letter. Consequently, the letter is approved, and the chair will instruct the Secretariat to dispatch it,” the Committee said.
India has consistently highlighted Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terrorism. On Friday, First Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, Vidisha Maitra highlighted the fact that Pakistan was home to 130 terrorists and 25 terrorist entities designated by the UN. In the letter, Pakistan outlined the monthly expenses of Saeed’s dependants. After an amendment in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, India designated him as a terrorist. Similarly, the US, the UN, and the European Union have already declared him as a global terrorist, citing his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that led to the death of 166 people. Currently, Saeed is subject to economic and trade sanctions, including arms embargoes, travel ban, and financial restrictions.
(With ANI inputs)