ISLAMABAD: Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) are no longer on the list of banned terror outfits in Pakistan as the presidential ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution has lapsed, a Pakistani media report said today.
Pakistan’s new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has not included Hafiz Saeed’s terror outfits in its latest ‘terror watch list’. According to the list updated on September 5 on Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority’s website, 66 organisations have been banned in Pakistan, but Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and FIF are not among them.
In February this year, Pakistan’s former president Mamnoon Hussain promulgated an ordinance amending the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to declare JuD and FIF as banned terror outfits.
During a hearing on Thursday, of a petition filed by Hafiz Saeed, his counsel informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the presidential ordinance had lapsed and it had never been extended, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.
Hafiz Saeed had challenged the former president’s ordinance under which his terror outfits had been banned for being on the watch list of the United Nations Security Council.
Hafiz Saeed contended in the petition that he established Jamaat-ud-Dawa in 2002 and cut off ties with his other banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The terrorist went on to blame India for continuing to malign the Jamaat-ud-Dawa for its association with Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani report said.
Hafiz Saeed said he was kept in detention in 2009 and 2017 due to India’s pressure. He said that the UN Security Council had passed a resolution against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) after which the government of Pakistan put it on the terror watch list, the report said.
India has been pushing Pakistan to bring to justice the planners of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Hafiz Saeed and his terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba were responsible for the terror attack in which 166 people were killed in Mumbai.
Hafiz Saeed’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich appeared before Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court. On a query, Hafiz Saeed’s counsel informed the court that the current Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan did not extend the ordinance or table it in the country’s parliament to convert it into an act.
Pakistan’s Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan confirmed that the ordinance has lapsed. He, however, declined the request of advocate Abbasi for giving a statement on behalf of the interior ministry about the lapse of the ordinance.
Mr Khan told the court that since the petitioner did not cite the interior ministry as a respondent, he could not give a statement unless the petition was amended and the interior secretary added as a party in the petition.
Justice Farooq held that the petition became infructuous since the ordinance challenged by the petitioner (Hafiz Saeed) has lapsed.
The judge disposed of the petition with an observation that in case the government renewed this ordinance, the petitioner was at liberty to file another petition against the promulgation of the law.
Hafiz Saeed claimed that the promulgation of the ordinance was not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution.
He said that any law which was violative of constitutional provisions was liable to be struck down.