Pakistan ‘won’t allow’ UN sanctions monitoring team access to Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan won’t allow a sanctions monitoring team of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) any direct access to 26/11 Mumbai terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed or his entities when it visits the country later this week, diplomatic sources told The Nation.

The UN team’s visit will take place – on January 25 and 26 – amid increasing pressure on Pakistan from the US and India on the inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Saeed and entities linked to him.

Saeed and his organisation the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) were put under sanctions by the UN in December 2008, a month after the Mumbai terror attack. The terrorist, who was released from house arrest late last November, in fact petitioned the UN after his release asking for his name be removed from their list of sanctioned terrorists. They didn’t.

Pakistani officials insist the UNSC team’s trip is a routine visit.

The UNSC team, one Pakistani diplomatic source said, will visit to discuss “official information” on issues relating to the banned outfits and implementation of UN sanctions.

“They will not seek access to the JuD or Hafiz Saeed and if they do that, we will not allow it. We have been in talks and this visit was scheduled,” said the diplomatic source.

The UNSC sanctions list includes the JuD, Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and Lashkar-e-Taiba (also banned by Pakistan, and of which the JuD is a front), among other organisations and individuals.

Last week, Pakistan’s prime minister said there’s no case against Saeed, which is why he can’t be prosecuted. However, just days before that statement by the PM, Pakistan banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the related Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation and other organizations on the UNSC sanctions list.

This double-speak did not make the US happy. After the PM’s statement, the US State Department sternly said Pakistan should prosecute Saeed “to the fullest extent of the law”.

“He (Saeed) is listed by the UNSC 1267, the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e- Taiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation,” said a US State Department spokesperson.

The US Department of the Treasury has also named Saeed a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings the terrorist to justice.