India designates JeM, JuD chiefs terrorists, US approves


–Wells says Washington stands with India, commends it for utilising new legal authorities to designate four ‘notorious terrorists’

–India names said individuals were declared ‘terrorists’ under amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 1967



WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: India’s decision to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists under a new law was endorsed by the United States shortly after it was announced.

In a statement, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells said Washington supported India’s move to declare the said persons as terrorists.

“We stand [with] India [and] commend it for utilising new legal authorities to designate 4 notorious terrorists: Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim. This new law expands possibilities for joint US-India efforts to combat scourge of terrorism.”

In a decision earlier in the day, Indian Home Ministry named the four as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA), 1967.

The new law empowers the government to designate an individual as a terrorist if he is found committing, preparing for, promoting or involved in an act of terror. The designation can lead to their arrest, freezing of assets and a ban on leaving the country.

The development comes as India expedites its efforts to divert international attention from profound human rights violations in occupied Kashmir following its unilateral decision to strip the disputed valley of its special status on Aug 5. Kashmir is under a constant clampdown ever since.

In February this year, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had asked Pakistan to speed up its efforts to curb money laundering which is a potential source of finance for the terrorist organisations to execute destructive activities.

Risks to the global financial system have virtually put the country’s entire machinery into an aggressive mode to show tangible progress within two months of the warning.

While the meetings were taking place, the government announced a ban on JuD and Falah-i-Insanyat Foundation to address the concerns raised by India that Pakistan supported these and six similar organisations, including JeM or at least considered them low-risk entities.

Earlier this year, Saeed was booked in more than a dozen cases and arrested on July 17 by counter-terrorism forces in a terror-financing case.

Saeed is accused by India and Washington of being the mastermind of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, and both have previously declared him a global terrorist with the US announcing a $10 million bounty on his head.

Azhar’s name has already been placed by the United Nations on a sanctions blacklist in May after China removed its objection to his listing. India had been seeking Azhar’s listing since 2016 but a renewed push came after the February 14 Pulwama attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in occupied Kashmir, which was claimed by the JeM.

The UN imposed a travel ban and freeze on Azhar’s assets as well as an arms embargo.