Government set to choke JuD funds

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Umer Farooq

ISLAMABAD

The government claims to have almost completed the process of preventing banned charities Jamatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) from carrying out fundraising campaigns inside Pakistan, officials said.

An official said that in the process the government has also made sure that these charities are unable to carry out financial transactions through banking channels in Pakistan and the outside world.

“The process of closure of operations of these charities is complete in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, while in Balochistan and Sindh it is an ongoing process” said senior official of federal government.

The federal government instructed the provincial home ministries on December 19 last year to work out plans to prevent the JuD and the FIF from collecting funds inside Pakistani territory.

The provinces started the campaign to implement the plans preventing the charities from collecting funds in the first week of January, “We have received reports from KP and Punjab that the process in this regards are complete,” said an official.

On February 9, the government promulgated an ordinance banning operations of all organisations that were listed as terrorist by the UN. This led to a massive crackdown against JuD and FIF affiliated schools, colleges, madressahs, hospital and dispensaries. Although, there were no arrests, members and workers of the JuD accused the government and police of harassing their staff.

Pakistan started the process to prevent these charities from collecting funds only after coming under watch by global financial watchdog — Financial Action Task Force (FATF)  — which threatened to put Pakistan on the grey list that can put the country under financial sanctions.

Despite efforts to pre-empt the move of FATF of putting Pakistan on the grey list in coming June, officials said that there was no guarantee that Pakistan would be able to evade sanction by the financial watchdog.

The FATF had cautioned Pakistan in February 2017 and again in November 2017 during its International Cooperation Review about its support to LeT, JeM and JuD. Apparently these notices were completely ignored.

A delegation of FATF is expected to visit Pakistan sometimes in June to judge the measures being put in place by the government to prevent terror financing from its soil.

“We will be able to complete the process before June but we don’t know on what criteria we will be judged,” said a senior government official.

JuD spokesman, Nadeeem Awan, however, told ‘Daily Morning Mail’ that their fundraising has come to a complete halt, “Our bank accounts have been completely closed, it was through these bank accounts that we used to receive donations,” he said.

“Government issued order and it was run as breaking news on TV channels that whoever would give donation to the JuD would be fined 10 million rupees. Now the inflow of money has been completely closed,” Nadeem Awan said.

Spokesman said that the JuD operations have been completely suspended in the two provinces and government operations against the charities are continuing in the province of Sindh and Balochistan, “Our works are either suspended and government appointed administrators have taken control of our institutions,” he said.

The government, however, is still sceptical about the response of the superior courts towards these measures. Lenient view taken by Pakistan’s superior courts, in the past, towards the JuD and its activities is making government doubtful whether the steps taken by it will stand or not.

“The government and the military are on the same page as far as going after the JuD and LeT is concerned, but the judiciary is a major variable,” said Iqbal of NDU. It is true that the superior courts have many times struck down government orders to put Hafiz Saeed behind bars and blocked government efforts to ban his charities.

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