China on Thursday dismissed a media report that claimed President Xi Jinping had asked Pakistan to explore ways to relocate Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to a West Asian country amid mounting international pressure to act against him for his links with terror groups, PTI reported. “It is shocking and baseless, that is all we can say,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
Xi had reportedly made the suggestion to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in China last month, The Hindu reported. “At a 35-minute meeting, at least 10 minutes of the discussion dealt with Saeed,” one of Abassi’s close aides, who was not identified, told the newspaper. “The Chinese president was keen on pressing the prime minister to find an early solution to keep Saeed away from the limelight.”
The matter has reportedly been referred to the government’s legal advisors and is likely to be presented before the next government. Abbasi will leave office onMay 31, when his term expires. The general elections are expected to held by the end of July.
In February, the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally, added Pakistan to a watchlist of nations not doing enough to clamp down on financial operations of terrorists and terrorist groups.
Pakistan had passed a presidential ordinance days before the task force’s meeting, amending the anti-terror law to include all United Nations-listed individuals and groups designated as terrorists. The country’s counter-terrorism forces even launched a massive crackdown against three entities linked to Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008.