Almost two weeks after announcing a ban on Jamat-ud-Dawa and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, Pakistan has formally banned the two groups led by 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. The action comes just a day after Indian media reported that the two outfits continue to be only on the watchlist.
A notification issued by the country’s interior ministry stated that the two outfits have been moved to the list of proscribed outfits, which has 70 organisations.
The crackdown on JuD and FIF comes amid intense global pressure to act against terror groups operating in Pakistan following the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
Although the Pakistan had announced the bans on February 21, the two groups continued to be in the watch list, where they were placed in January 2017. This had prompted the Indian security agencies to call the ban an eyewash.
“This implies that Pakistan has lied on the ban on Jud and FIF. In fact, it has just altered the date of the watch list placement to fool the world,” a senior security official had said.
Pakistani authorities on Tuesday had also detained Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s son and brother apart from 42 other members of banned militant outfits.
A spokesman of Pakistan’s interior ministry had said on February 21 that the decision to ban these two groups was taken during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organisations,” the spokesperson had said in a statement.
“It was further decided that Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organizations by the ministry,” he added.
According to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 26/11 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.