Assets of charity linked to Hafiz Saeed, chief Mumbai attack suspect, taken into state custody on interior ministry orders
Pakistan on Wednesday began seizing assets from Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a U.N.-designated terrorist organization, whose leader Hafiz Saeed is a prime suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, officials said.
The move comes as Washington piles pressure on Pakistan to take action against Hafiz Saeed after he was released from house arrest in Lahore.
The interior ministry ordered authorities to take over “assets [moveable, immoveable and human resource] associated with” two of Hafiz Saeed’s organizations, according to a notification that was obtained by AFP and dated to Saturday.
A senior interior ministry official confirmed the order.
The official said medical centers and ambulances owned by Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF)—the charitable wing of Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa—were taken into “state custody” on Wednesday.
“Medical centers owned by FIF have been taken over by the government,” the official said adding that the health facilities and ambulances were now classified as property of the Punjab government.
The move comes after Pakistan quietly amended its anti-terror laws to ban organizations listed as terrorists by the United Nations.
The change was made by President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday and published by the law ministry late Monday. “The amendment means that all individuals and entities listed by the United Nations also stand banned under Pakistani laws now,” a senior government official told AFP.
The spokesperson of Dawa was not available for comment.
Observers say Pakistan fears being put on money laundering and terrorist financing lists.
Saeed’s Dawa is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a militant group that battles Indian troops in disputed Kashmir and was blamed for the Mumbai attacks. Six Americans were among those killed during the three-day siege in Mumbai, when gunmen who arrived by sea sparked battles with Indian commandos.
The drama brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.
Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, has denied involvement. He was listed by the U.N. in December 2008 for being associated with Taiba, as well as having links to the Al Qaeda terror network and Taliban militants.