Hours after it emerged that Pakistan had not banned 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its affiliate, the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), despite announcing a ban on February 21, Islamabad Monday issued a United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) order to implement sanctions against designated terrorists and terrorist groups.
The new sanctions will directly affect the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the JuD and its chief Hafiz Saeed but not Jaish chief Masood Azhar, who is not listed as per the UNSC resolution 1267 sanctions committee.
On February 21, a week after the Pulwama attack in J&K, the Pakistan government had issued a statement that the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan had “decided that Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organisations by the Ministry of Interior.”
However, according to a list updated by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) on Monday, the JuD and FIF are numbers 3 and 4 in the names of organisations “under watch” and do not figure in a separate category of banned organisations.
The details available on NACTA website lists names of 68 organisation that have been banned and four organisations which are “under watch” and the NACTA website states that the “list was updated on March 4, 2019, and prepared by NACTA based on the Notifications issued by Ministry of Interior.”
Test is United Nations sanctions against Jaish chief
Not many in New Delhi will be impressed. The test is what does Pakistan do on the new move to blacklist Masood Azhar at the United Nations and its action against the Jaish’s infrastructure in Bahawalpur. Until then, global pressure will build on Islamabad.
According to the NACTA, the JuD and FIF were placed under watch on February 21, 2019, the same day Pakistan announced that they had banned the organisations.
Later, facing heat from the international community, Pakistan then issued a UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) order against designated terrorists and terrorist groups.
Though there was no official response from India, a source in New Delhi said that this “falls far short of what they are expected to do”. “I think Pakistan does not need to “Freeze and Hold” but to “freeze and liquidate assets” of such entities as well as “chargesheet and prosecute” individuals involved,” the source told The Indian Express.
The issue is also likely to be brought before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is examining Islamabad’s compliance to be taken off the “grey list”. Pakistan was placed under the “grey list” in June last year.
In a statement Monday evening, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said, “The objective of the UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order 2019 is to streamline the procedure for implementation of Security Council Sanctions against designated individuals and entities.”
“A key measure of these sanctions regimes is ‘assets freeze’ under which States are required to freeze/seize the assets of designated entities and individuals as soon as they are designated by the relevant UNSC Sanctions Committee,” it said, adding that the order has been formulated in line with UNSC and (Financial Action Task Force) FATF standards.
While the JuD and FIF have been designated as terror organisations by the UN, the US last month had asked Pakistan to “freeze without delay” the funds and other financial assets of UNSC-designated terrorist networks and their leaders.
In an interview to a Pakistan TV channel, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “We had made political commitments under FATF, we have international obligations that we will take actions. These decisions were taken much before Pulwama. That we have to move forward… People want verified action, what action we take will be verified…we have to take some real action.”
According to sources in New Delhi, Pakistan is trying to escape sanctions. “Islamabad passes these Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) under its UNSC Act 1948 to show the FATF that it is freezing all UN-designated terror entities. This is the 261st such other. The fact is that it has updated Schedule 1 and 2 under its Anti Terror law also today, clearly saying that UN designated FIF and JuD are in Schedule 2 and therefore none of its assets can be frozen under the terror act. This makes it non-complaint under FATF. Moreover, SROs are not prosecutable in courts and do not place any liability or penalty on any financial entity or government functionary who does not implement it,” said a source.