India, US pressure works, Pakistan amends anti-terror law

The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an organisation headed by Mumbai-terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, is using children to promote jihad against India.

Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avert being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with terrorist financing regulations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a measure officials fear could hurt its economy. Children are also being used as a human shelter and also to sort out anti-India or anti-U.S. protests.

It is understandable that the government does not want to raise controversy locally by targeting Hafiz Saeed; however it is dire time to apply the laws in practical ground.

Pakistan on Monday endorsed the United Nations' list of banned terrorist organisations by extending the ban on the said outfits in Pakistan as well, DawnNews reported. A meeting of FATF member states is due to take place next week in Paris, where the organisation could adopt the motion on Pakistan.

Hafiz Saeed, who has been "protected" until now, has been finally declared as a terrorist.

In this regard, a UN Security Council team visited Pakistan in January to track the progress of the steps taken by Pakistan to adhere to FATF guidelines. A separate JuD statement said it would fight a legal battle to against the action, which it said Pakistan was taking to please America and India.

The country has authorised its government to blacklist charities linked to Saeed - Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

The move will bring the Pakistani law in line with the United Nations sanctions list and remove ambiguities on the status of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks and a Pakistani court saw insufficient evidence to convict him. The "grey list", in which Pakistan was last named in 2012, affects global transactions from the country concerned as these would then be subject to greater scrutiny.

The move comes as Washington piles pressure on Pakistan to take action against Hafiz Saeed after he was released from house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore.

Vanessa Coleman