Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's charities; seizes his offices, assets

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab stalks a railway station in Mumbai during the 2008 terror attack

The development comes after Pakistan's Interior Ministry issued a notification on Wednesday, requiring authorities to immediately seize the assets of Saeed's JuD and FIF.

Following orders by the Punjab government, district administration of Rawalpindi took control of a seminary and four dispensaries run by Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

Pakistan, however, appears to be confident that the US move to place Pakistan on a list of countries failing to prevent terrorism financing, will not succeed.

FATF maintains a grey and blacklist that identifies countries supporting money laundering and terror financing. This decision was taken in the backdrop of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris.

"We have received the interior ministry directions, and according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been banned to operate in Pakistan", Sanaullah told Reuters.

Earlier this week, Pakistani media reported that the country has promulgated an ordinance to ban outfits designated by the United Nations as "terrorist organisations".

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Under house arrest since January 2017, Saeed was released in November after a court in Pakistan rejected a government application to extend his detention under anti-terrorism laws, saying there was no evidence to support the application. Sindh government, however, showed its inability to take over the humanitarian operations across the province operated by FIF, he added.

Rawalpindi commissioner Nadeem Aslam told Reuters that officials had "taken over all the JuD and FIF assets" and that the "takeover was complete".

"There is no justification for the USA move as we have already taken the required actions", Miftah Ismail, an advisor to the prime minister on finance, who effectively acts as the finance minister, told local broadcaster Geo News. "We are also quite hopeful that even if the United States of America did not withdraw the nomination that we will prevail and not be put on the watchlist", he said.

Miftah Ismail said that he had held meeting Germany's relevant quarters and apprised them of the steps taken by Pakistan to comply with UN Resolutions and FATF requirements.

"It's very serious issue and any negative report can lead towards initiation of process of imposing sanctions", said the official. "We are in touch with over 30 countries in this regard (to block the move)", he said.

Pakistan was on the FATF watchlist from 2012 to 2015.

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