Pakistan cracks down on entities linked to Hafiz Saeed; takes seminaries and health facilities under govt control

Islamabad: Under pressure to act against banned groups, Pakistan has launched a crackdown on seminaries and health facilities run by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, a media report said on Wednesday.

The action came after a high-level UN sanctions team visited in January to review progress against groups and individuals banned by the world body.

Following orders by the Punjab government, district administration of Rawalpindi took control of a seminary and four dispensaries run by Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). The seminary has been handed over to the Auqaf department which controls the religious properties, Dawn reported.

The paper reported that the provincial government last Friday directed the Auqaf department to take control of the seminaries. "The provincial government handed over a list of four seminaries in Rawalpindi to the district administration. The district administration teams have visited the seminaries but JuD has denied any link with the madressahs," said a senior official of the district administration.

The official said that the government had directed the district administration to also check the details of students and teachers of the JuD-run seminaries as well as doctors and paramedical staff of the FIF dispensaries. He said that the government had constituted a joint team with the district administration, police and the Auqaf department to check the details. He said that a similar operation would also be launched in Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum districts.

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

Deputy Commissioner Talat Mehmood Gondal confirmed that the government had assumed control of one seminary and four dispensaries, run by JuD and the FIF, respectively.

However, observers believe that it would be a difficult task for the government to take over JuD offices scattered across the country.

Pakistan has recently taken several actions against the entities banned by the UN. The recent actions have come ahead of the crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris, scheduled to be held from 18 to 23 February.

The US and India are spearheading an effort to get Pakistan included in the watchdog's international money-laundering and terror-financing 'grey list', reports said. Pakistan was last placed on FATF's grey list in February 2012 and stayed on it for three year.

The federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved new rules to block funding for banned groups.

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 UN proscribed groups, The government has also barred companies and individuals from giving donations to JuD, FIF and other organisations on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions list.

Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, heads the charity JuD, believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group.

Pakistan has come under intense pressue to rein in terror groups after US President accused the country of harbouring terrorists and suspended nearly USD 2 billion in security assistance to it.


Updated Date: Feb 14, 2018 14:04 PM

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