Pakistani government is drawing on a bill to tighten the noose on terror groups in Pakistan, including Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks. The bill is expected to replace the presidential ordinance which has already banned some people (Hafiz Saeed) and some terror organizations on the watch list of the Pakistani interior ministry.
According to Dawn’s sources in the law ministry, it reported that the new bill will bring in changes in Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. The bill will tabled in the National Assembly sessions, starting from 9th April for discussions. The sources added that military and law ministry together were involved in the process of examining the merits of the bill.
The bill was initiated after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization approved to place Pakistan on its list of money-laundering and terror-financing nations. U.S.A, U.K., France and Germany collectively approached FATF to monitor Pakistan on the issues of terror-financing and money-laundering. The government is also working on consolidating a database of prominent terrorists and terror outfits. This list will be provided to financial institutions law-enforcement agencies which will help the government in controlling money-laundering and terror financing. If the bill is enacted, the Anti-Terrorism Act will help in training the officials to investigate sources of funding, in addition to terror-funding cases.
President Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated an ordinance amending the ATA in the past. The list included entities which are prohibited by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Hafiz Saeed, JuD chief has already challenged this presidential ordinance in the Islamabad High Court which is effective now. He asserted that the ordinance was detrimental to the nation’s sovereignty because it is enacted due to the influence of external pressure. Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
Barrister Zafarullah Khan, special assistant to the prime minister informed that the ATA amendments was a matter of the interior ministry and refused to comment any further on the same. He also stated that no new amendments will be introduced to the legal system, and compliance with UNSC Resolutions will be ensured.
(source: Dawn, The Hindu)