Pakistan imposes sanctions on Dawood, Hafiz, Azhar, Lakhvi...

In an apparent attempt to avoid blacklisting by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, Pakistan has issued a fresh notification proscribing 88 chiefs and members of terrorist groups, including 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim and LeT commander and key 26/11 accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, in compliance with the new list issued by the United Nations Security Council recently.

Significantly, the 2020 statutory notification, issued on August 18, mentions Dawood’s ‘White House’ address in Karachi, in what Indian officials see as the first acknowledgement by Islamabad that the underworld don is in Pakistan. While copies of similar notifications in 2015 and 2019 also mentioned Dawood’s same address, Indian government sources said these statutory resolutions “appeared to be back-dated”.

However, Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs later said that the statutory regulatory orders reflect the current status of the UN Taliban and ISIL (Da’esh) and AQ Sanctions list and are a “routine matter”. It also said the individuals concerned are not named by its national counter-terrorism authority and reports about Pakistan imposing new sanctions measures are “incorrect”.

Looking to downplay the impression that Dawood’s addresses are acceptance of his presence in Pakistan, the statement from Islamabad said, “as to Pakistan admitting to the presence of certain listed individuals on its territory, based on the information contained in the SRO, is baseless and misleading”.

Indian officials, however, felt the mention of Dawood’s addresses is not completely inconsequential even if Pakistan will need to take concrete action. “The fresh notification is of little relevance, in the absence of real action against cross border terrorism, except for the fact they have accepted for the first time Dawood’s base in Karachi,” said a source. The UN listing of Dawood also mentions the same address. India is now expected to press on Dawood’s inclusion in the SRO to demand that he be named under Pakistan’s anti-terror act as “individual terrorist” along with Lakhvi.

A source in India said Lakhvi and Dawood had never been mentioned by Pakistan in any official document till the 2020 statutory resolution. The action, under pressure of the US and FATF, needs to be followed by prosecution and verifiable measures to restrict funding, said Indian sources, pointing out that terrorists like Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed have been placed under porous house detention that has not prevented them from planning and carrying out attacks in India and elsewhere.

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