Pakistan once again seems to be walking on the path of fostering terrorism and activities related to it after a brief pause during the prime ministerial elections. According to an updated list on the National Counter Terrorism Authority website of Pakistan, 66 organizations are banned in the country. This, by no doubt, is a small list by Pakistan’s standards. Shockingly, this small list does not feature the names of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) led by the Mumbai-mastermind Hafiz Saeed. The list was last updated on September 5th and the reason for the exclusion of these two organizations is the lapse of the presidential ordinance which had forbidden the organizations in the country under a UN resolution.
The two organizations led by Hafiz Saeed were put on the list by former president Mamnoon Hussain by amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. Considering its frequent involvement in the planning and execution of terror plots in India, it is unfortunate that JuD stayed in the list for a little over 8 months.
It is a grievous mistake on the part of the Pakistani government and it may cost its image in the international community dearly. The matter became clear during a hearing on Thursday when Hafiz Saeed’s counsel informed the Islamabad High Court that the presidential ordinance had not been extended regarding the concerned organizations. Hafiz Saeed had challenged the ordinance which had brought about the ban on JuD and FIF. Hafiz contended that he had broken off all ties with the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002, prior to the formation of JuD. Saeed blamed India for linking him with Lashkar-e-Taiba. He cited that he was detained in 2009 and 2017 by the Pakistani government owing to India’s pressure. The resolution passed by the UN Security Council against the JuD was also the reason for Pakistan to put his organization on the banned list.
It is noteworthy that Hafiz Saeed is the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which is one of the largest and the most active Islamic terrorist militant organization in South Asia. The organization was co-founded by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan with funding from former Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. Its headquarters are based near Lahore in Pakistan’s Punjab province while it carries most of its activities from Pakistan occupied Kashmir region. It operates several training camps to harm India. The Lashkar-e-Taiba has a mission to build an Islamic state in South Asia.
For the above reasons, the organization is labelled as a terrorist organization by India, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. Lashkar-e-Taiba has often been involved in working in tandem with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. It is because of the protection of ISI and the Pakistan Army that Lashkar-e-Taiba has been able to continue its operations to hurt Indian interests. JuD has been known to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and has never really stopped working for its elder partner. The FIF is another venture of Hafiz Saeed which he uses for image building and to have a say in Pakistan’s politics.
Earlier in September this year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had turned down an appeal filed by the federal government against an interim order of the Lahore High Court which permitted Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) charities to carry on their ‘social work.’ The court also gave consent to the legal activities of terrorist Hafiz Saeed’s organizations.
Terrorist Hafiz Saeed celebrated the decision of apex court of Pakistan and termed the verdict as a “victory of justice and truth.” The act of lifting the ban from JuD and FIF is another step in the same direction of supporting terrorism by the Pakistan government. Its credibility is at an all time low and with ever increasing drain on its resources at the hands of China. By letting organizations like JuD and FIF flourish in the country, Pakistan is digging its own grave, and by providing them with a free run they are also jeopardizing the safety and security of India and other South East Asian countries. The country is already on the FATF grey list and with actions like these; there is possibility of it being put on the black list as well.