Pakistan puts Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi on terror l...

Pakistan puts Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi on terror list

The move has been part of Pakistan’s commitment to the Financial Action Task Force, the international terror-financing watchdog, which continues to scrutinise the country’s actions.

After decades of denial, Pakistan has ordered that the names of Dawood Ibrahim, as well as 26/11 LeT operations chief Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, and some leaders of the Taliban to its own list of terrorists and declared an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo as per the U.N. Security Council’s designations. LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar are also on the list of 88 names. If Pakistani Counter-Terror authorities do follow through on the order and add the names from the UNSC list to their own national terror listing, this would be the first time the Mumbai blasts mastermind would be acknowledged as a terrorist by Pakistan government, officials said.

The move, which brings all those under sanctions of the UNSC committee on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, has been part of Pakistan’s commitment to the international Financial Action Task Force, which continues to scrutinise the country’s actions. Since June 2018, Pakistan has been on the FATF’s ‘greylist’ for “increased monitoring” on countering terror finance and anti-money laundering, and a final decision on whether to downgrade it to the ‘blacklist’ (or made a “high-risk jurisdiction”) is expected to be taken at the next meeting of the FATF plenary body.

According to the decision, published as an SRO (Statutory Regulatory Order) by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week, all designated terrorists on the list will have no direct access to funds, be able to enter or transit through Pakistan, or be able to procure weapons. While Pakistan has at various times brought strictures on these terrorists, they have been for a short term.

However, officials said that in order to fully implement the SRO, Pakistan should also list each of the terrorists on their own lists under the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA- Schedule IV, Proscribed Persons) list, but had yet to do so.

“As of August 18, 2020, the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee has approved the entries specified below to its List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2368 (2018) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,” said the SRO numbered 741(I)/2020 issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Significantly, the listing on Ibrahim that includes all his last known addresses, also has five Pakistan passports issued to him. However, in each of the Pakistan passports, the listing has added the note that they were a “Misuse”, indicating that the Pakistan government still denies giving him safe haven and funding. The Bombay underworld kingpin is accused of masterminding the Mumbai 1993 bombings that killed more than 250 people and several other terror attacks.

The listings for Azhar, who was listed by the UNSC in May 2019 for his links to the al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, as well as Saeed and Lakhvi who were listed after November 2008 for the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks mirror those that have been issued by the UNSC and Interpol.

“Finally, 27 years after the Mumbai blasts, Pakistan has recognised Dawood Ibrahim as a terrorist as well as Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi, whom the Pakistani government had not put on any watchlist,” said an Indian government source, adding that it is necessary to ensure Pakistan also tracks each one of those listed. At the FATF, Pakistan has submitted that it doesn’t have the whereabouts of Azhar and Lakhvi, who was granted bail in the 26/11 case.

The UNSC listing was one of the major demands by other countries at the FATF, and the 39-member body has so far cleared Pakistan on only about half of the 27-point action plan given to it as a part of the scrutiny process, which has kept it on the FATF greylist. In the last few months, Pakistan has also passed several legislations demanded by the FATF in order to escape being blacklisted, including the UNSC Amendment Bill, and the Anti-Terrorism Act Amendment Bill. Earlier this month, the government also cleared a Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matter) Bill — which calls for exchange of information and criminals with countries — through its parliament.

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