Pakistan Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the nation was “bound by UN resolutions” and asserted that the country had not lifted its ban on Hafiz Saeed’s organisations, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud- Dawa and Falah-I-Insaniyat Foundation.
“We are bound by the UN resolution (under UNSC 1267). So there is no question of lifting the ban,” Mr. Hussain told The Hindu in an exclusive interview. “There is just a misconception because of the lapse of the [anti-terror] Ordinance,” the Minister added.
The Minister’s statement is in sharp contrast to a submission made in court in October, when lawyers for Hafiz Saeed told the Islamabad High Court that an Ordinance banning the outfits had lapsed. While the Pakistan government had not denied or confirmed the development at the time, both New Delhi and Washington had reacted sharply to the news.
Mr. Hussain said while the Anti-terrorism Ordinance passed by the previous President in February 2018, which deemed all UNSC terror designations as binding on Pakistan’s Anti-terrorism law, had indeed lapsed as it hadn’t been passed by Parliament, the ban on the organisations was still operational.
“This is a matter still under consideration. The Law Ministry’s advice is awaited. The [JuD/LeT] organisation remains banned. The matter is now with the Law Ministry. So no final decision has been taken,” he said.
The Ordinance had been passed after pressure from the Financial Action Task Force, which decided to “greylist” the country unless it cracked down on the finances of terror groups banned by the UN Security Council.
According to UNSC guidelines, banned groups like the LeT and Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed and their leaders cannot travel out of the country, have access to weapons or financing.
Mr. Hussain’s statement follows a stern missive from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks on November 26th.
“We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and its affiliates,” Mr. Pompeo had said on Monday.