Allowing Hafiz Saeed to access frozen accounts legal, says US

Updated 29 Sep 2019

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The United States did not object to allowing Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to draw some money from his frozen accounts because it’s legal to do so, says a senior US official. — AP/File
The United States did not object to allowing Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to draw some money from his frozen accounts because it’s legal to do so, says a senior US official. — AP/File

NEW YORK: The United States did not object to allowing Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to draw some money from his frozen accounts because it’s legal to do so, says a senior US official.

Last month, the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC) allowed Pakistan to let JuD leader use his bank account for personal expenses. The decision was made public earlier this week.

Read: UN committee allows Hafiz Saeed to draw Rs150,000

At a Friday afternoon news briefing in New York, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells said the permission was legal.

“This is actually a positive step. Countries are required under the obligations of the listings that for any UN-designated individual that you account for whatever money flow is permitted, such as the family’s expenses of Hafiz Saeed,” said Ms Wells when asked why the United States did not oppose Hafiz Saeed’s request to draw about Rs150,000 a month to meet his expenses.

“So actually, having these submissions indicates a level of transparency and a fulfillment of a key requirement of FATF [Financial Action Task Force]. So, we welcome this step,” she added.

India had strongly criticised the UN decision when it was announced this week, blaming Pakistan for allowing a UN-designated terrorist to draw money from a banned account.

Saeed is not only a UN-designated global terrorist but the US Department of Treasury has also declared him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has since 2012, offered a $10 million reward for his arrest.

Two other people who also sought, and were granted, similar concessions from the committee are Haji Mohammed Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal.

Pakistan froze Saeed’s bank accounts in compliance with a UNSC resolution seeking such a ban.

UNSC resolution 1452 allows exemptions for globally designated terrorists to access their ‘frozen’ bank accounts for meeting basic expenses.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2019