Pakistan announces terrorism finance crackdown on banned militant group

Hafiz Saeed is showered with flower petals as he walks to court before a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan Nov. 22, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 04 July 2019

Pakistan announces terrorism finance crackdown on banned militant group

  • Target of crackdown is Hafiz Saeed, alleged leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit blamed for deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks
  • Police say have launched 23 cases against Saeed, 12 aides for using five trusts to collect funds for LeT

LAHORE: Pakistani authorities announced a crackdown on Wednesday against Hafiz Saeed, leader of the group blamed for deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008, amid growing international pressure to act against militant groups.

Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department said it had launched 23 cases against Saeed and 12 aides for using five trusts to collect funds and donations for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed by India and the United States for the attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Two banned LeT-linked charities, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), were also targeted, the department said in a statement.

“All the assets of these organizations and individuals will be frozen and taken over by the state,” said a counter-terrorism senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The counter-terrorism department said the action was in accordance with U.N. sanctions against the individuals and entities.

The move follows pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which last year placed Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over money laundering and terrorism financing.

The international watchdog gave Pakistan an October deadline last month to improve its efforts against terrorism financing. The FATF has said Pakistan could end up on the black list when it reviews progress in a meeting later this year.

Hafiz Saeed, designated a global terrorist by both the United Nations and the United States, is one of the founders of LeT, or the Army of the Pure. The United States, which has pressured Pakistan to crack down on militant groups, has offered a $10 million reward for evidence leading to his conviction.

The LeT has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and the charities since last year. Saeed, who denies involvement in violence or funding militants, has been freed by Pakistani courts after being detained at his home several times in the past.

Pakistan has long faced international pressure to shut off financing to militant groups operating from its soil and has repeatedly pledged action but results have been patchy and have failed to satisfy critics.

Pakistan has long denied accusations from Washington, New Delhi and others that it nurtures and supports Islamist militants in line with foreign policy goals in neighboring Afghanistan and the disputed Kashmir region.


Shaheen Afridi upstages Taylor's ton as Pakistan beats Zimbabwe in first ODI

Updated 29 min 54 sec ago

Shaheen Afridi upstages Taylor's ton as Pakistan beats Zimbabwe in first ODI

  • Zimbabwe lost by 26 runs when it was bowled out for 255 in 49.4 overs
  • Afridi outperformed everyone with 5-49

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan overcame Brendan Taylor’s century thanks to fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s 5-49 to beat Zimbabwe by 26 runs in the first one-day international on Friday.
Taylor’s 112 off 117 balls — his 11th ODI hundred — ended up in a losing cause as Zimbabwe was bowled out for 255 in 49.4 overs.
Afridi was well supported by Wahab Riaz, who claimed 4-41.
In Pakistan’s first home international with no spectators because of COVID-19 restrictions at Pindi Cricket Stadium, left-handed batsmen Haris Sohail (71) and Imam-ul-Haq (58) propped up their team’s total of 281-8.
The three-match ODI series is part of the new World Cup Super League. Seven of the 13 teams in the league will directly qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.
Taylor kept Zimbabwe in the hunt by hitting 11 fours and three sixes until Afridi returned in the 47th over and had him caught at mid-off. Zimbabwe lost its last five wickets for only 15 runs in the space of 18 balls.
“Pakistan’s bowlers' skill level at the death made it difficult for us," Taylor said.
On being named player of the match, he added, “I feel very lucky to get this man of the match award as I feel Shaheen should have got it. You’re up against a very skillful attack at the death and they were too good at the end."
Taylor and Wesley Madhevere (55) shared a 119-run, fifth-wicket stand that put Zimbabwe’s chase back on track after Afridi and Riaz reduced Zimbabwe to 115-4 in the 27th over.
But once Riaz broke the partnership by clean bowling Madhevere, Afridi followed up with the key dismissal of Taylor and swung the game back in Pakistan's favor.
“He (Taylor) played an outstanding innings, but I had confidence in Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz,” Babar Azam said after winning his first ODI as Pakistan captain. “Once Shaheen had Taylor’s wicket, I was sure we are going to win the game.”
Earlier, Zimbabwe's players didn’t show any rustiness despite this being their first international match since March as they tied down Pakistan’s much-fancied stroke-players.
Left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro (2-31) and fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani (2-39), who is making a comeback after two years out, were the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers. Muzarabani got Babar caught behind on 19.
Imam survived a television referral for lbw on 11 and went on to hit six fours. However, soon after completing his half-century he fell to a bizarre run out when he and Sohail ended up at the striker’s end.
Sohail departed in the 42nd over after hitting six fours and two sixes when offspinner Sikander Raza had him caught behind. Sohail didn’t return to the field during Zimbabwe’s chase.
Pakistan made 90 runs in the last 10 overs to post a competitive total.