Hafiz Saeed petitions United Nations to strike him off terror list: Most cases since 2010 have been successful

Just days after his 10 month-long house arrest came to an end, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed has petitioned the United Nations to remove his name from its global terrorist list, The Times of India reported on Tuesday.

According to Hindustan Times, Saeed's petition was routed through Mirza and Mirza, a Lahore-based law firm. “I cannot give details of the petition. I don’t have the permission of my client to speak on this,” Barrister Haider Rasul Mirza, who is Saeed's counsel at the UN told Hindustan Times.

Saeed's UN petition comes after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other terror-related case. Punjab province's Judicial Review Board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday unanimously ordered Saeed's release after he completed his detention period.

Since 31 January, Saeed had been under house arrest along with his four close aides — Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

While the initial detention was only for a period of 90 days, the government continued to extend the detention period under the 'public safety law'.

The UN had designated Saeed a terrorist after the 26 Novermber 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people. The organisation had designated him a terrorist under UNSC resolution 1267, while the United States Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 in May 2008.

 Hafiz Saeed petitions United Nations to strike him off terror list: Most cases since 2010 have been successful

File image of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed. Reuters

What is Hafiz Saeed listed for?

The UNSC designated Saeed a terrorist for his collaboration with the Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which he founded in the 1990s. Notably, the LeT, the group behind the 26/11 attacks was designated a terrorist outfit under UNSC resolution 1267 in May 2005.

Jamaat-ud-Dawah, which is headed by Saeed, has often been accused of being a front organisation of the LeT.

In the words of the United Nations Security Council:

"Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was listed on 10 December, 2008 pursuant to paragraphs one and two of resolution 1822 (2008) as being associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Qaida for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both entities."

Resolution 1822, which the security council statement referred to a resolution adopted in 2008, which denounced terrorism and reaffirmed the various sanctions on the individuals and organisations in the terror list.

Who can delist themselves and how?

Any member-state of the United Nations is eligible to send a request to seek delisting of individuals or entities in the terror list. Additionally, the proscribed individual and institution can also send a request directly or through a representative.

The individual or organisation has to appeal to the office of ombudsman at the UNSC. According to the UNSC, any request must state why the delisitng will not work. The applicant also needs to reveal his or her present work profile as well as other information such as assets.

According to Hindustan Times, it may take at least six months for the application to be adjudicated.

"If the Committee approves a delisting request, the Secretariat shall notify the Permanent Mission of the State or States where the individual or entity is believed to be located and, in the case of individuals, the country of which the person is a national or resident," the UNSC website states.

If the delisting process has been routed through the ombudsman, then it will remove the name after a "fixed period of time" unless there is opposition from any member of the 15-member Al Qaeda sanctions committee, or if the matter is taken to the five-member UNSC.

Here is a list of people who have been delisted earlier

There have been 79 applications for delisting of proscribed individuals or organisations since 2010.

According to the ombudsman, 78 applications have either been accepted or awaiting final approval, while one case, filed on 27 March 2017, is still in the fact finding phase.

Since 2010, most of the requests for delisting have been approved by the ombudsman — 56 out of 78. Only 17 requests have been denied so far.

In September 2010, Safet Ekrem Durguti, a Bosnian national, who headed the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation became the first to be removed from the UN terror list. The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was accussed by the UN of collecting funds for Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups.

Another individual involved with the foundation, Tunisian national Shafiq ben Mohamed ben Mohamed Al-Ayadi was delisted in 2011 after he submitted a request to the ombudsman.

The last successful application was that of Adil Muhammad Mahmud Abd al-Khaliq, a Bahrainian national, who was arrested in the UAE for alleged terror financing links. He applied for delisting in November 2016, which was granted in August this year.

India, US react to Saeed's release

The day Pakistan's judicial board released Saeed from house arrest, the US had asked the Islamabad government to make sure that Saeed is re-arrested and charged for his crimes.

"The United States is deeply concerned that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan. LeT is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks, including a number of American citizens," state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes," Nauert said in a statement after the release of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief.

Ministry of External Affairs said Saeed's release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN.

"It also appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said and further added, "His release confirms once again the lack of seriousness on the part of the Pakistan government. It seems to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists."

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2017 12:41:45 IST