ISLAMABAD: In a shocking development, the government has ordered to unfreeze assets of Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi and removed a ban on his Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) movement.
The National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) issued on Wednesday a notification in this connection on the recommendations of the Punjab home department.
Ludhianvi is the chief of ASWJ, a proscribed sectarian extremist group, formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba. He became the head of ASWJ after the death of Ali Sher Haidri in a 2009 ambush.
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Ludhianvi, who is also the Joint Secretary of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), is now allowed to operate his bank accounts which were frozen on the recommendation of Punjab home department.
He is also free to travel abroad as a ban on his movement has been lifted after this notification. He is also allowed to avail purchase and carry arms after securing licence from the competent authority.
The computerised national identity card (CNIC) of Ludhianvi, who had been put on the Fourth Schedule, has also been unblocked and he is allowed to use it for sale and purchase of movable and immoveable properties.
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An official source told The Express Tribune that a high-powered review committee of the Punjab home department occasionally reviews cases of people on the Fourth Schedule and recommends lifting of ban if it finds conduct of a person satisfactory.
Interestingly, the decision was made the same day Pakistan had committed to an ambitious 26-point action plan spanning a period of 15 months to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force.
The plan envisages choking the financing of terrorist groups like Da’ish, Haqqani networka, Jamaatud Dawa and its affiliate FIF, LeT, JeM and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
In February 2018, the FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List.
If the FATF endorses the 26-point Action Plan, it will formally announce to place Pakistan on the list. In case the FATF rejects the Plan, Pakistan will be on FATF’s Public Statement, being called the Blacklist.