2018-03-22| Crime & Justice
KP authorities seize assets of terror-linked group, charity
PESHAWAR -- An on-going crackdown against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) authorities is sending a message to terrorists that their activities will not be tolerated, according to politicians and security analysts.
KP Police Saturday (March 17) shuttered the offices of the Hafiz Muhammad Saeed-led JuD and halted the operations of its charity wing, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), in Peshawar and other districts of the province.
Pakistan proscribed both organisations for alleged links to the banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The US State Department first designated FIF as an alias of LeT in November 2010, accusing it of being a different name for JuD, another alleged LeT front.
Authorities began seizing FiF assets in KP February 14.
"We have sealed the offices of the foundation, seized three religious schools and two mosques and handed over the seized properties to the Auqaf [and Religious Affairs] Department to look after operational matters," a senior official told Dawn on March 17.
"We sealed a health facility in Balakot and office in Abbottabad and seized ambulances," he said.
'The public wants peace'
The crackdown is taking place "in close co-ordination with the federal government as part of the National Action Plan to do away with terrorism", said KP Information Minister Shah Farman.
"Pakistan cannot afford to have people associated with acts of terrorism," he told Pakistan Forward. "We have lost immensely, and we need to show no mercy to those pursuing terrorism."
"We welcome the KP government's attempts to curtail public operations of JuD," Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Pakistan Forward. "It is the right thing to send a clear message to terrorists that we won't allow their activities."
"These actions should continue not only against JuD but also against other banned outfits across the country," he said. "There should be no let-up, and the government should shut down all groups and individuals associated with terrorism."
"A few organisations have dented Pakistan's image globally, and we need to take measures to show to the world that we are a peaceful nation," he said, adding that such a move is "in compliance with international law".
"Terrorism has wrecked havoc on the public," Hussain said. "It wants peace."
The seizure of terrorist assets is a step in the right direction, said Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah, a Peshawar-based security analyst and former security secretary for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
"Pakistan has come under the radar of the entire world because of a handful of terrorist elements, and it is time the government stops their activities," he told Pakistan Forward.
"These terror groups disguised themselves as charities to deceive the public and get donations," he said, adding that the government is responsible for ensuring that donations do not end up funding militancy.
"The government must shut down the offices and charity work of these [banned] groups," he said.
Cracking down on terrorist finances
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) January 1 banned donations to terrorist entities and individuals included on the consolidated list of the UN Security Council's (UNSC) sanctions committee.
The Ministry of Interior also released a list of 72 blacklisted outfits, which includes JuD and its FIF charity.
Aiding and abetting any of the banned organisations, financially or otherwise, will be considered a crime, according to the Interior Ministry. The government has prohibited fundraising by the proscribed organisations and individuals, as well as any of their social, political, welfare and religious activities.
Any entities who do not comply with the ban on donations face a fine of up to Rs. 10 million ($90,300).