By Pratheeksha Gopinath
On Monday, 12th of February, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain took the world by surprise with his promulgation of the ordinance amending the country’s stringent Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Officially recognising the terror groups sanctioned by the UN Security Council (UNSC), the Pakistani government proclaimed to include Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba and other malevolent groups under the purview of the Anti-terrorism Act. The ordinance amending sections 11B and 11EE of the ATA was passed with the intention of healing old wounds.
Ushering in a new wave of reforms, Pakistan gave some relief to the 26/11 terror afflicted families by affirming the Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder, as a terrorist. The ordinance empowers the government to penalise these malignant groups and to obliterate terror funding. Lauding Pakistan’s move as a step towards purging the nation, the ordinance was heartily welcomed by both India and US.
India’s acrimony over Saeed’s release
India, time and again, had voiced its dissent over the release of Hafiz Saeed, but only for it to fall on deaf ears. Saeed, who was placed under house arrest in January 2017, was released after 10 months on the midnight of November 23rd, in the face of severe opposition from the Indian government. Generating angst amongst the Indians, his release was condemned worldwide. Denouncing the release, the Indian Foreign Ministry claimed it as Pakistan’s attempt to mainstream interdicted terrorists. Reprimanding it for shielding deleterious organisations, India was appalled by Pakistan’s policies.
In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the United Nations in December 2008 individually designated him as a ‘global terrorist’, under UNSCR 1267 (UN Security Council Resolution). Saeed, who has a $10 million US bounty on him, was declared as “a specially designated global terrorist” under Executive Order 13224, by the United States Department of Treasury in May 2008. The Pakistani government, succumbing to the surmounting pressure by Trump, detained Saeed and his four aides on January 31st, 2017. Bound under the obligatory framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that curbs money laundering and terrorist financing, the government of Pakistan had no alternative but to place Saeed under house arrest.
President Trump, who had expressed his ire against nations linked to terrorism, lambasted Pakistan for harbouring terrorists. Censuring Pakistan for its antisocial policies, Trump had hinted upon a withdrawal of funds from Pakistan in the wake of “state-sponsored terror activities“. Having earned the despicable designation of “a foreign terrorist organisation“, Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawa was recognised as a terror front for Lashkar-e-Taiba by the US. The terror outfit of LeT was banned under UNSC resolution 1267 in 2005. In June 2014, the United States earned the authority to freeze the terror group’s assets falling under its jurisdiction.
High time for Pakistan to exterminate Saeed
Saeed, after his release, formed a political party named Milli Muslim League (MML), with the intention to contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan. Terrorised by the prospect of his involvement in the governance of the country, the US and the UN had to exercise its influence for the ordinance to be passed. Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has the JuD and FIF under its ‘Watch List.’ Intended to take over these two charities of Saeed, the Pakistan government had to submit a report in this regard in December 2017. However, the Pakistan government failed to do so, very much to the disappointment of India and US. Last month, Pakistan made some progress with the successful prohibition of the collection of donations by these charities. With the passing of the ordinance, Pakistan has rekindled the hope for a terror-free world.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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