ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Thursday proscribed the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as it decided to tighten the noose around extremist and militant groups.
Moreover, the armed forces were permitted to sternly respond to any aggression as a pre-emptive move against the threat of Indian military adventurism.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, had been convened to deliberate on escalating tensions with India in the aftermath of last week’s Pulwama attack on Indian security forces.
The Pulwama attack, in addition to heightening tensions between Pakistan and India, has brought into focus the failure of the National Action Plan (NAP) in dealing with violent extremist groups as subsequently the country has faced renewed pressures at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) despite making significant progress on all 27 actions it has been required by the illicit financing watchdog to undertake. France, with the support of certain Western countries, is leading a fresh move for retaining Pakistan on the FATF’s watch list. The group is also set to make another bid at the United Nations Security Council for listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
PM authorises military response if India attacks
The interior ministry, shortly after the NSC meeting, said that the top security coordination forum, while reviewing progress on the NAP “decided to accelerate action against proscribed organisations” and ordered notification of the JuD and the FIF as banned groups.
The government had last year also proscribed the JuD and the FIF by promulgating an ordinance, which provided for domestically proscribing individuals and entities listed by the UN Security Council. The action, on that occasion, was taken in an effort to forestall Pakistan’s placement on the FATF’s grey list. But the belated action could not save the country from being put on the grey list and the ordinance too lapsed months later due to completion of the tenure of the last National Assembly.
The Prime Minister Office (PMO), in a separate statement on the NSC meeting, said that PM Khan while emphasising eradication of “militancy and extremism” from society said that the state could not be allowed to “become hostage to extremists”.
Mr Khan, therefore, directed both the “interior ministry and the security institutions” to take action against the groups indulging in extremism and terrorism.
The prime minister recalled how much Pakistan had suffered at the hands of terrorism and extremism. “Pakistan alone has endured over 70,000 casualties in the process besides heavy loss to national exchequer. That is why the National Action Plan, conceived and issued in 2014, outlined concrete sequenced measures with consensus of all political parties and institutions of Pakistan,” he told the participants.
Mr Khan said that the state would exercise its belief that “monopoly of violence” belonged to it and would also demonstrate its capability to protect its citizens.
According to the PMO, the prime minister “authorised the armed forces of Pakistan to respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India”.
The way Indian political leaders and media have whipped up war frenzy after the Pulwama attack has raised concern in Pakistan that India could be planning military adventurism to gain political mileage ahead of coming general elections and distract Indian public attention from domestic problems that could potentially hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prospects of getting re-elected.
Mr Khan had, in his policy statement on the situation arising out of the Pulwama attack, warned New Delhi of assured retaliation if it opted for military adventurism.
“We are listening through Indian media where politicians are shouting that Pakistan should be taught a lesson, revenge should be taken, and the attack should be avenged. Which law in the world gives power to an individual or a nation and permit them to become a judge, a jury and executioner? What justice system is this?,” the prime minister had said while recalling that bashing and threatening Pakistan was the most profiting election gimmick in Indian politics.
The NSC stressed that “State of Pakistan” was not involved “in any way, means or form” in the Pulwama attack. “The incident was conceived, planned and executed indigenously,” it noted and recalled Pakistan’s offer of cooperation in the investigation of the incident and dialogue on terrorism and other contentious issues.
“We expect India to positively respond to the offers,” it said, adding that Pakistan would take action against anyone found involved in the incident after an investigation or provision of “tangible evidence”.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019