Pakistan has issued a law to streamline the process for the implementation of United Nations sanctions against individuals and organisations amid global pressure to curb the activities and financing provided to terror groups operating on its soil, Dawn reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said the government issued the United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Act, 1948.
“The objective of the UNSC [Freezing and Seizure] Order, 2019, is to streamline the procedure for implementation of Security Council sanctions against designated individuals and entities,” the ministry said in a statement.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the order means that the government has taken over the control of assets and properties of all banned outfits operating in Pakistan, Dawn reported. “[From now onwards], all kinds of assets and properties of all [banned] organisations will be in the government’s control,” he said, adding that the government will also seize the charity wings and ambulances of such banned outfits.
The new law is expected to help Pakistan fulfill its obligations towards the UN Security Council by speeding up the seizure of properties of banned groups and individuals.
A high-level meeting at the interior ministry was also held on Monday to discuss the implementation of the National Action Plan, after which the ministry asked all provincial governments to “speed up” action against banned organisations.
Pakistan under pressure
The crackdown came amid heightened tensions with India after the Pulwama suicide attack on February 14, which killed 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force. The bombing was claimed by the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is led by Pakistan-based Masood Azhar.
Pakistan is under pressure from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing. Last year, the task force had put the country on its watchlist in an effort to push Pakistan to halt support for terror groups.
Inter-ministerial consultations have been taking place in Pakistan to work on areas highlighted by the task force’s International Cooperation Review Group, ANI reported. The Financial Monitoring Unit has issued 8,707 suspicious transaction reports in 2018 as compared to 5,548 reports issued in 2017 in Pakistan.
Six banks have been fined and 109 bankers are being investigated for opening fake bank accounts. Smuggled currency and jewellery worth more than 20 billion Pakistan rupees was confiscated between July 2018 and January 31 this year.
In the wake of aerial skirmishes between both countries after the Indian Air Force conducted cross-border strikes in Balakot on February 26, New Delhi handed over a dossier to Pakistan to take action against the Jaish-e-Mohammad. The United States, the United Kingdom and France had also moved a fresh proposal at the UN Security Council to blacklist Azhar.