Pakistan has taken one more step to tighten noose around Mumbai terror attack mastermind and most wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
According to a report in Dawn, at the behest of the Interior Ministry, provincial Punjab government has listed him under Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) -- development that itself is an acknowledgement of his links to militancy.
Besides Saeed, the Punjab government has included name of one of his close aides, Qazi Kashif, in the fourth schedule of the ATA. Three other men were also added to the list -- Abdullah Obaid from Faisalabad, and Zafar Iqbal and Abdur Rehman Abid from the Markaz-i-Taiba, Muridke.
Saeed and the four men added to the fourth schedule of the ATA were also placed under house arrest on January 30 in Lahore amid an angry uproar from his party and political allies.
The five men were identified by the Interior Ministry as ‘active members of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat (FIF)’, the report said.
The Ministry directed the Counter Terrorism Department to ‘move and take necessary action’ against all of them.
The names of Saeed and 37 other JuD and FIF leaders had earlier also been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), barring them from leaving the country.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 empowers the government to mark a person as proscribed and to place that person on the fourth schedule on an ex-parte basis.
The mere listing of a person in the fourth schedule of the ATA shows that he is linked with militancy in some way, the report said. Those listed face a barrage of legal consequences like travel bans and scrutiny of assets etc.
Any violation of provision of the fourth schedule may result in imprisonment of up to three years and fine or both. The action against Saeed was taken after the country was hit by at least eight terror attacks which killed more than 100 people.
"Detention of Saeed shows that army supported the step by the civilian government, and it was viewed by many as a sign of changing security priorities," the daily said.
Saeed was also put under house arrest after Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 but he was freed by court in 2009. Saeed also carries a reward of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.
Three other men whose names were added to the list were Abdullah Obaid from Faisalabad, and Zafar Iqbal and Abdur Rehman Abid from the Markaz-i-Taiba, Muridke.
The five men were identified by the interior ministry as “active members of the Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat”. The ministry directed the CTD to “move and take necessary action” against them.
The names of three prisoners transferred to Pakistan from Guantanamo Bay had also been placed on the list, he said. However, he refused to share the identity of anyone other than the JuD leaders.
Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest on Jan 30 amid an angry uproar from his party and political allies. This was followed by an extraordinary development in which the army supported the step taken by the civilian government, and it was viewed by many as a sign of changing security priorities.
The Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 empowers the government to mark a person as “proscribed”, and to place that person on the fourth schedule on an ex-parte basis.