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US hails UN decision to allow Hafiz Saeed to use bank account

September 29, 2019

NEW YORK: The United States has welcomed the UN Security Council’s decision to allow Pakistan to let Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed use his bank account for personal expenses, as it shows that Islamabad is working towards accountability for its counter-terrorism efforts as part of its commitments at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“It’s counter-intuitive, but this is actually a positive step,” US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said in reply to a question at a news briefing on the sidelines of UN General Assembly on Friday. “Countries are required under the obligations of the listings that for any UN designated individuals, you account for whatever money flow is permitted, such as the family expenses of Hafiz Saeed. So actually having these submissions indicates a level of transparency and a key requirement of FATF,” Ms. Wells added, speaking to a few journalists on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Friday, "We welcome this step," she added.

Saeed is a UN-designated global terrorist. The US Department of Treasury has also declared him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has since 2012, offered a $10 million reward for his arrest. The committee that deals with such matters informed Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations that Hafiz Saeed can use his bank account for ‘basic expenses’ to help his family. The committee said in its letter that “with no objections being raised” to Saeed’s request and “the Chair has approved the appeal.”

Two other people who also sought similar concessions from the committee are Haji Mohammed Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal.

The committee also approved their appeals. According to the letter, Mr Saeed can withdraw Rs150,000 to cover necessary basic living expenses for him and his family.

The UNSC resolution 1452 allows exemptions for globally designated terrorists to access their frozen bank accounts for meeting basic expenses.