Islamabad: In a major move to clamp down on terror financing in the country, Pakistan’s central bank has directed all banks in the country to freeze accounts worth millions of rupees linked to 2,021 individuals listed on the Fourth Schedule of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.
According to a report in Dawn, “All banks, development finance institutions and microfinance banks have been advised to take immediate action as per requirement of the law against individuals, whose names are included in the lists of fourth schedulers provided by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA),” a State Bank of Pakistan source was quoted as saying.
But the list of accounts to be frozen does not include accounts belonging to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) of whom Hafiz Saeed is the leader. Kashmiri separatist and terrorist groups have been entirely excluded from the order.
Some prominent names on the list are Maulvi Abdul Aziz (Lal Masjid), Mohsin Najfi (Shia leader), Maulvi Ahmed Ludhianvi, Pariyal Shah, Maulvi Kabir, Aurangzeb Farooqi (all Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat), Allama Maqsood Domki (Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen), Sibtain Shirazi, Mirza Ali, Sheikh Nayyar (all Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan), Ramzan Mengal (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi), and Shahid Bikik (Lyari Aman Committee).
The list of 2,021 individuals — mostly leaders and office-bearers of sectarian groups — was sent to all banks by the State Bank of Pakistan, said the report. Incredibly, the list includes some dead individuals too.
Senior counterterrorism officials were quoted as saying the complete list may have between 6,500 and 8,000 names. The list includes 1443 names from West Punjab, followed by Sindh (226), Balochistan (193), Gilgit-Baltistan (106), Islamabad (27) and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (26).
It is not clear what criteria were used to draw up the list forwarded to the banks.
But this is the first time that such a large-scale crackdown on terror financing has been ordered by Pakistan’s central bank. The latest move comes after criticism that not enough is being done to squelch terrorism financing, even as India continues to attack Pakistan at the UN for harbouring terrorists following the attack in Uri....