Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed's charities

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"The federal interior minister has ordered all the provincial governments to take control of the charities and we are following the orders", Rana Sanullah, law minister of Punjab, told Anadolu Agency on phone.

Pakistan feared that it might be put on the watchdog's global money-laundering and terror-financing "grey list" of FATF following some possible sanctions where it could face a major irritant in its dealing with the worldwide financial sector. "We have received the interior ministry directions and, according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been banned from operating in Pakistan", Sanaullah told media.

President Mamnoon Hussain, on February 9, signed an important ordinance with key amendments to Sections 11B (a) and 11EE (aa) of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 aiming at reigning in individuals and organisations that have been banned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The official said the government had directed the district administration to check the details of students and teachers of the JuD-run seminaries and doctors and paramedical staff of the FIF dispensaries. The responsibility lay squarely on the government shoulders because they had failed to pursue any cases against him investigating his involvement in terrorist activities.

"We've taken over all the JuD and FIF assets".

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"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.

The crackdown appears to be part of Pakistan's actions against groups and organisations banned by the United Nations, after a high-level sanctions team visited the country in January to check the progress.

The move comes days before a six-day multi-national Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris where Pakistan is likely to be "grey-listed" for money-laundering and terror-financing, is being seen as an eyewash by experts. "Pakistan's credit rating may be downgraded if FATF downgraded its ranking for Islamabad", said the official.

Pakistan, however, appears to be confident that the USA move to place Pakistan on a list of countries failing to prevent terrorism financing, will not succeed. Pakistan had been on the grey list of FATF for three years from 2012 to 2015.