ISLAMABAD: The government has not outlawed any militant group following the deadly Taliban rampage at Peshawar’s Army Public School that left more than 150 people – mostly schoolchildren – dead in December 2014. According to a list submitted by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt in the Supreme Court on Friday, 212 national and transnational groups have been proscribed by the Pakistani government.
The interior ministry has banned 60 organisations since 9/11 while the foreign ministry blacklisted 171 outfits. Ten organisations are on the common proscription list. The Haqqani Network was proscribed on November 5, 2012, while the last group on the list was banned more than a year ago – in May 2014.
As per the federal government’s written reply, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s charitable trust Jamaatud Dawa has been on the watch-list since 2003 but no fresh action has been taken against the group.
Read: Unpaid hospital bills: APS victims stranded
Interestingly, the ultra-extremist Islamic State (IS) group, which has established a self-proclaimed caliphate on large swathes on land in Iraq and Syria, is not among the banned outfits. An interior ministry official requesting anonymity said the reason for not banning IS might be that Pakistan was not willing to accept the group’s presence on its soil.
The list was submitted on the orders of a full court, which has reserved its judgment on the petitions against the 18th and 21st constitutional amendments.
Justice Qazi Faez Essa had asked AGP Butt whether or not IS was banned in Pakistan, to which he promised to submit a detailed record for the court’s perusal.
“The list does not define how much state proscription is effective, as many of these organisations are [still] working under different names,” a court official said. As per the procedure, any proscribed group cannot work under a different banner. “But why this is happening is a question which the government is supposed to tell the highest forum,” the official added.
Read: Post APS attack: Stakeholders demand removal of hate material from schoolbooks
Under the national counterterrorism strategy, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) was authorised to keep an eye on the activities of these organisations. The government, however, did not release funds for the authority. Access to Nacta’s website has also been restricted for unknown reasons.
Recently, Nacta chief Hamid Ali Khan, along with Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, briefed a parliamentary panel on this issue. The official admitted that the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP), which envisages establishment of special courts for trying terrorism suspects and crackdown on jihadi outfits, was not working on the required pace. The officials also admitted that imposing a ban was not effective as the financial supply line of many of these proscribed organisations could not be disrupted.
The Nacta chief admitted that more needed to be done to clamp down on financers of sectarian and terrorist networks operating across Pakistan. “International cooperation is vital to block militant funding, and slow cooperation has hindered progress,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ