US backs Indian move to designate Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed as terrorists

Published: September 5, 2019
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The United States on Thursday backed India’s move to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists under a new law.

The US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs quoted Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells as saying that the US stood with India on the matter.

“We stand [with] India [and] commend it for utilising new legal authorities to designate 4 notorious terrorists: Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi & Dawood Ibrahim. This new law expands possibilities for joint US-India efforts to combat scourge of terrorism.”

The statement comes a day after India’s Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification declaring the four as ‘terrorists’ under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, the Hindu reported.

APG places Pakistan on enhanced monitoring list for at least one year

Saeed is already under detention while Lakhvi is out on post-arrest bail. Earlier this year, Pakistan confirmed sanctions on Azhar when the United Nations’ 1267 Sanctions Committee placed him on its global terror list after China removed its objection to his listing.

Last month,  the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering placed Pakistan on its enhanced monitoring list after Islamabad’s performance was found unsatisfactory on three-fourth of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommendations.

In its Mutual Evaluation Report, the FATF style regional body observed that the effectiveness of Pakistan’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes were of low level.

The APG prepared the Mutual Evaluation Report after two visits to Pakistan during which they exchanged at least four technical annexures with Islamabad – the body provided government ample opportunities to improve the situation.

Pakistan is now required to submit its performance report to the APG twice a year.

The sources said that out of 40 universal recommendations of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan’s rating was partially and non-compliant on 30 recommendations and performance was also below par on 10 as against 11 Immediate Outcomes.

Out of total 11 Immediate Outcomes -which determine the effectiveness of the AML and CFT frameworks, only on one indicator was effectiveness was found moderately effective and on rest of 10, the rating was ineffective.

The FATF has already grey-listed Pakistan with effect from June 2018 and adverse findings by the APG would keep Islamabad on the radar of the global and regional bodies working to curb money laundering and terrorism financing.

The FATF Plenary will be held in October where the implementation on an ongoing 27-point Action Plan and adverse APG findings will be reviewed.

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