Pakistan Bans Charities Linked To UN-Designated 'Terrorist'

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Even as Pakistan started taking over all the moveable and immovable assets of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed said on Thursday that he would move court against the government order that was issued to "please America and India".

The crackdown appears to be part of Pakistan's actions against groups and organisations banned by the United Nations, after a high-level sanctions team visited the country in January to check the progress.

"The federal government [of Pakistan] is pleased to direct that requisite actions with regard to freezing and taking over of assets (movable, immovable and human resource) associated with JuD and FIF shall be taken in pursuance of Ordinance No-II of 2018", read an official notification issued by Ministry of Interior on February 10.

The seminary has been handed over to the Auqaf department, which controls the religious properties, the Dawn newspaper reported. The provincial government has also barred anyone from donating to JuD and FIF, said one of the officials. He said that the government had constituted a joint team with the district administration, police and the Auqaf department to check the details.

The move comes days before a six-day multi-national Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris where Pakistan is likely to be "grey-listed" for money-laundering and terror-financing, is being seen as an eyewash by experts.

The US and India are spearheading an effort to get Pakistan included in the watchdog's global money-laundering and terror-financing "grey list", reports said.

Observers believe Pakistan's swift action against Saeed's charities was aimed at avoiding inclusion in the FATF watch list.

Last week, Pakistan changed anti-terror laws through a presidential ordinance to include Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation and other militant outfits on the list of United Nations proscribed groups.

Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was recently released from house arrest.

However, it is unclear whether the JuD and the FIF had been added to the list of banned organisations of the interior ministry by placing both in the Schedule I (a list that maintains banned organizations) or not.

Pakistan, however, appears to be confident that the US move to place Pakistan on a list of countries failing to prevent terrorism financing, will not succeed.