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February 2, 2017

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Hafiz Saeed, 37 JuD activists put on ECL

Hafiz Saeed, 37 JuD activists put on ECL

Interior ministry says decision against JuD men taken under UN resolution; Pakistan doesn’t need Indian certification for action against JuD

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has imposed international travel ban on Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and 37 other activists of his organisation by placing them on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The Interior Ministry has forwarded letters to all the provincial governments and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which includes the names of all the 38 individuals placed on the ECL. All of them were said to be affiliated with the JuD or Lashkar-e-Taiba. The move effectively bars 38 individuals from leaving the country.

The move comes two days after authorities placed Hafiz Saeed under house arrest along with four other individuals, namely Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz.

In a notification, the Interior Ministry said it had "placed Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and Jamaatud Dawa on the watch list as per UNSC 1267 sanctions and have listed these organisations in the Second Schedule of the ATA 1997 (as amended).

"Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz are reportedly active members of the aforementioned organisations within the meaning of Section 11EEE(1) of the ATA 1997 (as amended)," said the ministry. "As such, they must be placed under preventive detention," it said.

Police took Hafiz Saeed away from a mosque in Lahore late Monday and escorted him to his residence where they are said to be holding him under house arrest. Hafiz Saeed, however, told reporters that he would challenge his detention in the court.

"My detention orders are unlawful and we will challenge them in the court," he told reporters before he was led away by the police. The ministry's detention order surfaced hours after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar hinted that a crackdown was imminent.

He told reporters in Islamabad on Monday that the group had been under observation for years and was blacklisted internationally and Pakistan was "under obligation to take some action".

Following the house arrest, the military's media wing clarified that the decision to place restrictions on the JuD chief was a policy decision.

"This was a policy decision taken by the state in the national interest and several institutions will have to play their role. This news came yesterday and in the coming days more details will be available," DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

General Asif Ghafoor said there was no foreign pressure UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He said that various actions that needed to be taken under the relevant resolution i.e. arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze were not carried out for some reasons by the previous governments.

The spokesman said India has constantly been using Hafiz Saeed's political activities as a tool to malign Pakistan. He said the international community should take notice and understand that Pakistan is a democratic society where judiciary takes free, independent and transparent decisions. 

“If India is serious about its allegations, it should come up with concrete evidence against Hafiz Saeed which is sustainable in court of law in Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world. Mere casting aspersions and levelling allegations without any corroborating evidence would not help the cause of peace in the region,” said the spokesman. 

He said Pakistan is still looking for justification and explanation from India as to how all the accused involved in Samjhauta Express bombing, where 68 Pakistani nationals lost their lives, have gone scot-free. He said the involvement of Indian army officer Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Hindu extremist leaders like Swami Aseemanand of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the Samjhauta Express terrorist incident is a matter of record and has been widely reported in the international press without any positive response from India.

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