Pakistan denies Dawood Ibrahim’s presence in its territory

Pakistan denies Dawood Ibrahim’s presence in its territory

August 18 order included three residential addresses and five passports issued to former underworld don.

Pakistan denied that two Special Regulatory Orders (SROs) issued by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), that included Dawood Ibrahim and other designated terrorists believed to be in Pakistan, amounted to an ‘admission’ that Dawood Ibrahim lives there.

The listings published on August 18 included three residential addresses and five Pakistani passports issued to the former underworld don and directed Pakistani authorities to ensure that Ibrahim and hundreds of others named in the UNSC ISIL and Al-Qaeda sanctions committee list of designated terrorists would be denied access to funds, arms and transit travel through Pakistan.

“The assertions made by some sections of the Indian media, as to Pakistan admitting to the presence of certain listed individuals on its territory, based on the information contained in the SRO, are baseless and misleading,” said a Foreign Ministry statement, also denying that the measures were ‘new’. Pakistan also said the SROs were issued “periodically as a routine matter” and the same list has been issued in the past, including last in 2019.

Government sources however said Dawood Ibrahim and LeT operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi had not been included in past lists issued by Pakistan, though they appear on SROs from 2015 and 2019 on the MFA website now. They suggested those had been ‘backdated’ to comply with stipulations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) where Pakistan’s actions are being scrutinised.

In October, the FATF plenary session is expected to take a decision on whether Pakistan would be cleared from the ‘greylist’ it is on or be downgraded to a ‘blacklist’ as a “high-risk jurisdiction” and face stringent financial sanctions. Pakistan has thus far cleared 14 of a 27-point action plan handed down by the FATF, directing it to bring its laws in line with international terror conventions and take firmer action to counter terror financing and money laundering.

International terrorist list

The SRO is one step towards bringing the international terrorist list issued by the Security Council committee in line with Pakistan’s own list under its Anti-Terrorism Act and displayed as Schedule IV list of Proscribed Persons by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). Significantly, neither Dawood Ibrahim nor Lakhvi is included in the NACTA list yet, though LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and even Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, who was put on the UNSC list most recently, are both included. Pakistan has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of their present whereabouts.

Officials said to complete its FATF commitment, Pakistan will have to add both Ibrahim and Lakhvi to their own watchlist, which would be the first time it will acknowledge Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, wanted in India for masterminding the Mumbai blasts of 1993 in which 250 people were killed, as a terrorist.

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