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August 8, 2017

Pakistan says FIF to be retained on watch list

National

August 8, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to retain the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) on watch list as the state believes that a subsidiary charity of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is engaged in certain activities which undermine ‘peace and security.’

“Now, whereas, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub section IV of Section 11-D of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, (XXVI of 1997), as amended, the competent authority is pleased to direct that the said organisation (FIF) be retained under observation for an additional period of six months and continue to be on second schedule of the said Act,” read an official notification issued by the Ministry of Interior exclusively available with this correspondent.

Following this decision, the government of Punjab also extended house arrest of JuD Amir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his four close associates for two more months. The decision also followed after JuD's Hafiz Saeed made his mind to launch his own political party named Milli Muslim League, eyeing on 2018 general elections.

“Whereas on the basis of report sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs vide their UO dated January 27, 2017, the federal government have reasons to believe that Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation is engaged in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security and in violation of Pakistan’s obligations to the United Nations Security Council Resolution No 1267,” read the notification.

The section 11-D of ATA, 1997, under which observatory period of FIF is extended, reads that the federal government has reasonable grounds to believe that an organisation is acting in a manner that it may be concerned in terrorism; the organisation may be kept under observation, if (a) the name of the organisation is listed in second schedule by order of the federal government and (b) each observation period shall be for six months, and may be extended by the federal government only after giving an opportunity of being heard to the organisation concerned.

Some security analysts were of the view that Pakistan by taking this decision followed through Islamabad and Washington’s joint resolve to act against “all UN-designated terrorist individuals and entities including LeT and its affiliates” in line with its international commitments. Perhaps both Washington and Beijing have been putting pressure on Islamabad to act against such organisations, they explained. But China has categorically denied this viewpoint. “About Masood Azhar case, China put technical hold,” said Zhao Lijian, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, adding that it is not in case of Hafiz Saeed or the FIF. “The 1267 committee of the Security Council discussed the listing issue last year with no consensus reached, as members of the Security Council held different views on this issue.

Chinese side places a technical hold on that in a bid to allow more time for thorough consultation among relevant parties. It is in line with the Security Council resolution and the committee's rules of procedure. The Security Council and its subsidiary organs have their own rules of procedure. I hope and believe that all members of the committee will act in accordance with these rules in handling applications, whoever the applicant is,” Lijian said. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan Ambassador to UN, could not give her perspective on this important issue as she was constantly travelling in past four days.

Yahya Mujahid, spokesman for Hafiz Saeed, said Punjab Home Department has extended term of house arrest for him (Saeed) and his four associates for two months. But he was not familiar with retaining order of observation on FIF. “We have challenged Hafiz Sahib’s house arrest decision again at the Lahore High Court (LHC) which already was hearing this case, but about FIF’s observation we have yet to decide,” he said. “We are in favour of China’s operations in Pakistan,” he said, adding, “Indian and American lobbies spread venom against this Muslim charity (FIF) and Hafiz Sahib everywhere,” he added.

The JuD chief was put on house arrest on January 31 this year for 90 days after which it was extended for three months. This detention ended on July 27 but it was extended till September 27. A petition is being heard at the LHC challenging the detention of Hafiz Saeed, his aides, including Prof Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid, Qazi Kashif Hussain, Abdullah Ubaid and others.

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