UNSC team to visit Pakistan amid global pressure to act against Hafiz Saeed


ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Security Council’s sanctions monitoring team will visit Pakistan on a two-day visit next week for an assessment of Islamabad’s compliance with the world body’s sanctions regime. The visit of the monitoring team will begin on January 25.

This visit comes in the wake of increasing global pressure on Pakistan from the United States and India to act against Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and entities linked to him. On the other hand, Pakistani officials have insisted that the trip is a routine visit.

On Friday, the United States Administration called for the prosecution of the UN-designated terrorist ‘to the fullest extent of the law, a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that no action could be taken against Hafiz Saeed ‘sahab’ as there is no case against him.US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the US believes that Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted and Pakistan has been told about it. “We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He is listed by the UNSC 1267, the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation,” Nauert said.

Saeed, who was released from house arrest by a Pakistan court last year, is a designated international terrorist with a bounty of $10 million on his head. Unhappy over his release, the US froze a $255-million military aid to Pakistan, accusing the country of sheltering terrorists and militant outfits.

Saeed-led Jamaat-ud Dawah is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.The UNSC monitoring team intimates instances of non- compliance to the committee through its reports. At the same time it also advises and assists member states on implementation of the regime. Pakistan has remained under the Financial Action Task Force scanner over allegations by the US and India about the UNSC sanctions not being fully implemented, the paper said.

In January, a BBC investigation said that Saeed had toured British mosques in 1995 to incite Muslims to become jihadis.

A BBC investigation has said that Saeed, one of the world’s most wanted terror suspects, who now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) group in Pakistan, had toured British mosques in 1995 and his visit was recorded in a magazine published by the LeT at the time.During the tour, Saeed spoke in Birmingham where he denounced the Hindus and urged his audience to rise up for jihad. In Leicester, he spoke at a conference attended by 4,000 young people, according to the BBC Radio 4 documentary, titled ‘The Dawn of British Jihad’, aired last night. “There is non-stop talk about jihad, encouraging British Muslims to join him,” Sajid Iqbal, one of the programme’s producers, told BBC Scotland.

(With Agency inputs)