In a representation to the Islamabad high court, the legal team representing Hafiz Saeed, who heads the JuD, said that the presidential ordinance dated February 2018 that put the two organisations in the banned list had lapsed. File photo: Reuters
In a representation to the Islamabad high court, the legal team representing Hafiz Saeed, who heads the JuD, said that the presidential ordinance dated February 2018 that put the two organisations in the banned list had lapsed. File photo: Reuters

Pakistan edict proscribing Hafiz Saeed outfit lapses

Imran Khan government does not seem to have extended the ordinance—that put Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its associate group FIF in the banned list—and neither has it attempted to turn it into law

New Delhi: The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its associate group, the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), both linked to 2008 Mumbai attacks’ mastermind Hafiz Saeed, are no longer on the list of banned outfits in Pakistan, thanks to the lapsing of an ordinance that proscribed them, a news report in the Dawn newspaper said.

In a representation to the Islamabad high court, the legal team representing Hafiz Saeed, who heads the JuD and who India believes is the plotter of Mumbai attacks, said that the presidential ordinance dated February 2018 that put the two organisations in the banned list had lapsed. The Imran Khan government, which took office in August, does not seem to have extended the ordinance and neither has it attempted to turn it into law.

India did not immediately comment on the development, but a person familiar with the development said “the decision reflects the lack of sincerity on the part of Pakistan to meet its international obligation to fight terrorism".

The hearing in the Islamabad court took place on a petition filed by Saeed challenging the ordinance, the Dawn news report said. According to Saeed, he set up the JuD in 2002 after severing ties with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

The development represents a turnaround by Pakistan from its submission to the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently, which had earlier this year placed it on “grey list." Under pressure from the FATF, the Pakistan government had promulgated the ordinance to amend the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997, to bring into its purview all organisations proscribed by the United Nations Security Council, including the JuD and the FIF.

It is unclear what the immediate implications of the lapse of the ordinance were but Pakistan has been under increasing pressure to cut all help given to terrorists operating from its soil. The FATF, for example, could censure Pakistan, making it difficult for international financial institutions and banks to do business in the country and for Pakistani businesses to raise money overseas. This comes at a time when Pakistan faces a crippling $12 billion debt repayment crisis, with a team from the International Monetary Fund expected to meet government officials on 7 November.

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