Islamabad, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department on Wednesday said it has registered 23 cases relating to terror financing and facilitation against Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, days ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the US.
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said that Saeed and other members of JuD and people associated with other banned trusts operating as charities have been booked in cases of terror financing.
The people named in the cases include Hafiz Saeed, his brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Ameer Hamza and Muhammad Yahya Aziz.
The move comes ahead of Imran Khan’s upcoming 5-day visit to the United States from July 20 during which he is to hold talks with President Donald Trump.
In a statement on Wednesday, the CTD spokesperson said that cases have been registered against Saeed and others in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan for collecting funds for terrorism through assets/properties held as trusts and non-profit organisations, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawa’at-ul-Irshad trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, Pakistani media reported.
The CTD said large-scale investigations were launched into the financing of proscribed organisations, including Jama’at-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba in connection with the implementation of United Nations’ sanctions against these designated entities and persons as directed by National Security Committee (NSC) in its meeting on January 1, 2019 which was chaired by Imran Khan for implementing the National Action Plan (NAP).
On July 1 and 2, the CTD registered 23 cases against the leadership of Jama’at-ud-Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF), which is another front for the JuD, for making assets from terrorism financing through trusts/NPOs.
Similarly, large-scale investigations have been launched into matters of JuD, LeT and FIF regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds for terrorism financing. They made these assets from funds of terrorism financing and held and used these assets to raise more funds for further terrorism financing.
They committed multiple offences of terrorism financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. They will be prosecuted in anti-terrorism courts for the commission of these offenses, the CTD said.
These assets/NPOs have been taken over by the government in compliance with the UN’s sanctions, the CTD spokesman said, Pakistan Today reported.
Earlier in February this year, Pakistan reinstated a ban on two charities linked to Saeed – the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) – which had long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
The United States and India blamed the LeT for numerous deadly militant attacks, including the November 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.Washington also offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s arrest and conviction.
The development also came amid growing international pressure and two weeks after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body founded by the G20 countries, slammed Pakistan for failing to do enough to check terror financing and warned of blacklisting the country if it did not comply with the requirements before October.
The FATF has already placed Pakistan in the ‘Grey’ list (watch list) and the country runs the risk of being blacklisted, after which it can be denied aid by international bodies.
The grouping, after three days of deliberations in the US, had said Pakistan, since June last year, made “a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG (Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering) to strengthen its AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.”
The FATF had said, “Pakistan has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including the recent development of its TF (Terrorist Financing) risk assessment addendum; however, it does not demonstrate a proper understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risk.”
A statement issued after three-day deliberations of the international watchdog, founded by G-7 (Group of seven industrialized nations) in 1989, said, “The FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019.
“The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire. Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress.”