The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said Pakistan’s filing of terror charges against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed was a “cosmetic step” that shows its double standards. Saeed is the alleged mastermind of the terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
On Wednesday, Pakistan filed 23 cases against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Saeed and 12 senior leaders of the group, and five proscribed outfits functioning as charity organisations.
“Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community on taking action against terror groups,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. “Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan.”
Kumar said Pakistan only claims to take action. “But when it comes to people we want action against, you [Pakistan] go into denial mode,” he added. “You try to project to international community that you are taking some action against the terrorists operating from the soil. This is case of double standards.”
Kumar cited the instance of gangster Dawood Ibrahim. “The location of Dawood Ibrahim is not a secret,” he said. “Time & again we have been presenting to Pakistan a list of people who are in their country. We’ve asked repeatedly that he should be handed over. His imprint on the Mumbai blast is very clear for all of us to see.”
Pakistan’s action against Saeed came more than a week after the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, warned the country that it could be put on its blacklist for not meeting the deadline to implement an action plan to curb terror financing.
The Counter Terrorism Department filed the cases in five cities of Punjab province. It alleged that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa was financing terrorism from funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts such as Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust and Muaz Bin Jabal Trust. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. In March, Islamabad had added Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation to its list of proscribed organisations.
“Formal investigations on a large scale have been launched against the top leadership of the JuD for terror financing after the registration of FIRs against them during the last two days,” said a spokesperson for the Counter Terrorism Department.
According to The Express Tribune, some of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa leaders charged by investigators are Saeed’s brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder Ameer Hamza and Muhammad Yahya Aziz, who heads Lashkar’s media department.
At the plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force on June 21, the organisation’s outgoing President Marshall Billingslea warned Pakistan that if it fails to implement a 26-point action plan suggested by the watchdog to curb terror financing, it will face punitive measures. Being on a blacklist of the international task force has the potential to severely cripple and isolate a country financially, and this can lead to a downgraded credit rating and denial of loans and developmental assistance.