Pakistan declares 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed a terrorist under global pressure

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On Monday, Pakistan announced it had amended its anti-terrorism law to ban militant groups and organisations that are listed as "terrorists" by the United Nations, a move seen to be targeting those charities. Pakistan was on the grey list from February 2012 to February 2015, when all financial transactions were monitored by FATF.

The ordinance amending a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of Pakistan enables authorities to take action against individuals and terror outfits proscribed by the UNSC, by sealing their offices and freezing their bank accounts, local media reported.

Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has been declared a terrorist by Pakistan.

Last week, Pakistan's National Security Committee (NSC) had directed the "ministries concerned to complete the few outstanding actions at the earliest".

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The organisation in its last plenary meeting, held in November in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, had instructed Pakistan to submit a compliance report on the action it took against Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawah at the upcoming plenary in Paris.

According to Dawn, this move will end ambiguity over the status of Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud- Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) by firmly placing them on the proscribed groups list along with United Nations listed outfits of Al Akhbar Trust and Al Rashid Trust. A separate JuD statement said it would fight a legal battle to against the action, which it said Pakistan was taking to please America and India.

Pakistan's de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail said that moves to put Islamabad on the FATF watchlist were counter-productive when Pakistan was already undergoing "mutual evaluation" by experts from other countries, who are measuring progress in curbing illicit fund flows.

The watchdog does not have the powers to impose sanctions on a country found not meeting the required standards. However, its listing may affect global transactions from the country concerned as those would then become subject to greater security. Arriving on the list would surge the cost of doing worldwide business and getting involved in cross-border transactions for Pakistan.

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