Pakistan banned two charities linked to Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the banned Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa, looks over the crowed as they end a "Kashmir Caravan" from Lahore with a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/Files

Vastavam web: Pakistan banned two charities linked to the founder of an Islamist militant group on Wednesday, just days before a global watchdog is due to vote on a U.S.-backed motion to put Islamabad on a watchlist for failing to curb terrorist financing.Authorities have begun seizing control of offices and financial assets of the charities founded by Hafiz Saeed, an official said.The United States and India blame Saeed for deadly militant attacks, including a four-day siege by gunmen in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people. Washington has offered $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Pakistan has banned the LeT but allowed its charity wings to continue operating, maintaining an extensive network which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. Washington has long complained about Islamabad’s failure to shut them down.“We have received the interior ministry directions, and according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been banned to operate in Pakistan,” Sanaullah told Reuters.

The action comes days before a meeting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering watchdog, which will consider a U.S.-sponsored motion to place Pakistan on a list of countries failing to prevent terrorism financing. Pakistan was on the FATF watchlist from 2012 to 2015.Pakistan drew up plans late last year to take over Saeed’s charities in a secret order first reported by Reuters.In the city of Rawalpindi, located in Punjab province adjacent to the capital Islamabad, district officers had begun taking over the charities’ offices, a city official said.