New Delhi: Pakistan is merely taking 'cosmetic steps" against terrorist groups in a bid to stave off sanctions from the international community, the Indian foreign ministry said. The government was dismissing reports that came in a day earlier, which suggested that Islamabad had cracked down on the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.

"Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups. Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters.

The comment came after news reports on Wednesday said that Pakistan had filed terror charges against 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Saeed and 12 of his close associates for "terrorism financing" in 23 cases.

"Pakistan's sincerity to take action against terror groups will be on the basis of demonstrating verifiable action, not on the basis of half-hearted steps to hoodwink international community," the foreign ministry said.

Saeed and others have been held by Pakistan many times under its anti-terror laws but were released by the courts owing to lack of evidence. In 2017, Saeed and four others were detained by the Pakistan government but they were released after nearly 11 months when the Judicial Review Board of Punjab refused to extend their detention further.

According to the Pakistan police, Saaed will be "very soon arrested", news reports said. Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi was quoted as saying that the filing of a First Information Report is a first step towards arrest.

Pakistan has been on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force - a Paris-based global body working to curb financing to terrorist groups – since June last year. In its meeting in Orlando last month, the body had warned Pakistan that it had to do more to escape blacklisting – a move that will make it difficult to raise resources from the international market. At the Orlando meet, Pakistan had secured the help of three countries to avoid being placed on the black list. It has been warned that it has till September to take all the steps it had promised to avoid further penalties after being placed on the grey list.

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