The Pakistani government has decided to take over two charities and financial assets linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed, Reuters reported on Monday, citing documents it had reviewed. The United Nations has designated Saeed a terrorist.
The Pakistani government reportedly explained its plans to seize control of Saeed’s charities and assets in a secret order to several federal and provincial departments on December 19, 2017. The finance ministry order directed law enforcement officials and Pakistan’s provincial governments to submit an action plan by December 28 for a takeover of Saeed’s two charities. It is unclear whether the action plan was submitted.
The two charities in question are the Jamaat ud-Dawa and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, both of which the United States has labelled “terrorist fronts” for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The Pakistan government’s direction to its provincial governments came after the Financial Action Task Force, an international organisation that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, warned Islamabad that it faces inclusion on a watch list for failing to crack down on financing terrorism. The December 19 order thus refers to “Financial Action Task Force issues” and names the two charities and “actions to be taken” against them.
Pakistan Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who co-chaired one of the meetings on the plan, told Reuters on Monday that he had ordered authorities to “choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan”, without specifically commenting on Saeed’s charities. He also denied that Islamabad was acting under pressure from the United States. “We’re not pleasing anyone. We’re working as a responsible nation to fulfill our obligations to our people and international community,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump on Monday said that the country had “foolishly” given Pakistan $33 billion dollars (Rs 2.10 lakh crore) in the last 15 years. Trump added that US operations in Afghanistan were being affected because Islamabad provided “safe haven” to terrorists.