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Pakistan government takes over schools, hospitals run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed

The crackdown appears to be part of actions Islamabad is taking against groups banned by the UN after a high-level sanctions team visited in January.

Pakistan on Wednesday began a crackdown on health facilities and seminaries run by alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, PTI reported on Wednesday.

Acting on a notification issued by the government, the Rawalpindi district administration took control of a seminary and four dispensaries run by Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation. The JuD’s headquarters, Muridke Markaz, was also taken over on Wednesday, Dawn reported.

The crackdown appears to be part of Pakistan’s actions against groups and organisations banned by the United Nations, after a high-level sanctions team visited the country in January to check the progress.

Earlier this week, Pakistani media reported that the country has promulgated an ordinance to ban outfits designated by the United Nations as “terrorist organisations”. The ordinance amended the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to allow authorities to freeze the assets of 27 such outfits, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

Saeed, meanwhile, said the government’s order was issued to “please America and India”. He said he will challenge the “illegal” action in court.

“After detaining me for 10 months without any legal ground, the government has now issued a notification regarding taking over our schools, dispensaries, ambulances and other assets,” Saeed said. “It will hamper our relief operations in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, Azad Kashmir and northern areas.”

Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist, was freed after a 297-day-long house arrest on November 24, 2017, following an order from the Lahore High Court. The US and India had reacted sharply against his release.

India has consistently maintained that Saeed was the mastermind of the terror attack in Mumbai in November 2008, while the US, which backs India on this, has a $10-million (approximately Rs 66 crore) bounty for him.

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