Reports of Pakistan government unfreezing top JuD leaders' bank accounts spark controversy


By Hamza Ameer

Islamabad, Jul 14 (IANS): A media report claimed that the Pakistan government has restored the bank accounts of top five leaders of the defunct Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) including Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, sparking serious controversy over Islamabads closed-door facilitations.

The report claimed that Pakistan has taken the step after formal approval of the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

"Members of the defunct JUD/LeT who got their bank accounts restored comprise Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, Haji M Ashraf, Yahya Mujahid and Zafar Iqbal," claimed the report citing reliable sources.

"All of them are UNSC's enlisted terrorists though and currently facing sentences ranging one to five years in Lahore jail for terror financing cases filed against them by the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD)," it added.

Detailing further into the de-freezing of the accounts, the report citing the sources, claimed that "each one of the defunct JuD leader had appealed to the UN for restoring their bank accounts that they could run their family affairs".

"Initially we did not want to file an appeal but we were advised to file it as it was difficult for our leaders to run their affairs. Not only this it would have also raise questions how our leaders are running their families so we approached the authorities as it was in our favor whatever facility we have got in terms of restoration of our bank accounts is legal and with the approval of UN," maintained a senior leader of JuD.

The report raised eyebrows over Pakistan's actions on ground and claims on papers in front of the global community and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where it has claimed to seize all assets, offices and bank accounts of the JuD and its affiliate individuals.

The Pakistan government was quick to respond to the claims made in the daily publication and declared the report as "factually incorrect" and "misleading".

In a press release, the Foreign office rejected the report, stating that the "bank accounts of UN Designated Persons have not been unfrozen by Pakistan".

"The targeted financial sanctions, on the UN Designated Persons, including freezing of their bank accounts are in place and being strictly monitored, in compliance with the UN sanctions," the release said.

"The UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee had granted basic expense exemptions to the designated individuals in 2019, in accordance with the exemption provisions of the relevant UNSC resolutions provided for in the relevant UNSC resolutions."

Pakistan has said that the exemptions granted to these individuals, have been given to meet their basic expenses, asserting that the permission "does not involve any restoration or unfreezing of the bank accounts".

"These exemptions are being enforced and monitored as per law," the release added.

  

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