Previous PPP govt blamed for not acting against JuD

The government has accused the previous government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of not taking required actions under the 2008 United Nations resolution designating Hafiz Saeed’s organisation as a terrorist outfit.

“As a matter of record, the actions taken by the government of Pakistan have been carried out as per obligations vis-à-vis listing of Jamaatud Dawa under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008,” says an unnamed spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior in a statement here on Wednesday which the ministry apparently released in reaction to a statement of India’s Ministry of External Affairs regarding the detention of JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

“Various actions that needed to be taken under the relevant resolution, i.e. arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze, were not carried out for some reasons by the previous governments,” the spokesperson said without naming the PPP.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan did not need any certification or endorsement from India over the recent actions it had taken in relation to Hafiz Saeed.

India had constantly been using Hafiz Saeed’s political activities as a tool to malign Pakistan, the statement said. “The international community should take note and understand that Pakistan is a democratic society where judiciary takes free, independent and transparent decisions,” it said.

“If indeed, India is serious about its allegations, it should come up with concrete evidence against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed which is sustainable in court of law in Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world,” the spokesperson said, adding: “Mere casting aspersions and levelling allegations without any corroborating evidence would not help the cause of peace in the region.”

The spokesperson further said that Pakistan was still looking for justification and explanation from India as to how all the accused involved in the Samjhota Express bombing, in which 68 Pakistani nationals lost their lives, had gone scot-free.

“The involvement of Indian army officer Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Hindu extremist leaders like Swami Aseemanand of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the Samjhota Express terrorist incident is a matter of record and has been widely reported in the international press without any positive response from India,” the spokesperson concluded.

When contacted, PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said: “I don’t know what actions were taken on the resolution at that time,” adding that it was the PPP government which enacted in 2013 a legislation under which a banned organisation could not resurface or resurrect under a new name.

Mr Babar recalled that in reply to a question on the issue in the Senate, the interior ministry had made a statement that the government had not banned the JuD be­­cause of a decision of a high court. However, he said, when the government produced a copy of the decision after a stern ruling by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, it showed that the court had only raised a technical question as to why the JuD had not been placed in the Fourth Schedule, a prerequisite for imposition of a ban on any organisation.

He asked why the present government took more than three years for implementation of the same UN resolution.

ECL: Meanwhile, TV channels reported that the government had placed the names of 38 activists of the JuD on the exit control list. However, there was no official word from the interior ministry in this regard.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2017