LAHORE/Islamabad -  The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has prohibited all the companies from donating cash to the organisations put on the list of banned outfits by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

These banned outfits include Hafiz Saeed's Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

"The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan hereby prohibits all companies from donating cash to the entities and individuals listed under the UNSC sanctions committee's consolidated list," read a notification issued by the commission Monday .

"The government has already prescribed a penalty of up to Rs10 million for non-compliance on the sanctions regime being implemented," it said. Responding to the government action, the JuD and FIF said they would take the matter to the court.

In early 2017, the federal government launched a crackdown on JuD, placing Hafiz Saeed under house arrest. However, he was released in November after the Lahore High Court refused to extend the period of his confinement.

The government detailed its plans in a ‘secret’ order to various provincial and federal government departments on December 19, three officials who attended one of several high-level meeting discussing the crackdown told foreign news agency Reuters.

Marked ‘secret’, the December 19 document from the finance ministry directed law enforcement and governments in Pakistan’s four provinces to submit an action plan by December 28 for a ‘takeover’ of Saeed’s two charities, JuD and FIF.

The United States has labelled JuD and FIF ‘terrorist fronts’ for LeT, a group Hafiz Saeed founded in 1987 and which Washington and India blame for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. However, he has repeatedly denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks and a Pakistani court saw insufficient evidence to convict him.

The December 19 document, which refers to ‘Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issues’, names only Hafiz Saeed’s two charities and ‘actions to be taken’ against them.  In a written reply to Reuters, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan wasn’t taking action under US pressure.

“We’re not pleasing anyone. We’re working as a responsible nation to fulfill our obligations to our people and international community.”

Asked about a crackdown on JuD and FIF, Ahsan, who co-chaired one of the meetings on the plan, responded only generally, saying that he ordered authorities ‘to choke the fundraising of all proscribed outfits in Pakistan’.

The Punjab government had put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest for 10 months this year for violating anti-terrorism laws. Washington, which has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction over the Mumbai attacks, warned Islamabad of repercussions after a Pakistani court in late November released him from house arrest.

If the government follows through with the plan, it would mark the first time Pakistan has made a major move against Hafiz Saeed’s network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services.

Participants at the meeting raised the possibility that the government’s failure to act against the charities could lead to UN sanctions, one of the three officials said. A UN Security Council team is due to visit Pakistan in late January to review progress against UN-designated “terrorist” groups.

“Any adverse comments or action suggested by the team can have far-reaching implications for Pakistan,” the official said.

The December 19 document gave few details about how the state would take over Saeed’s charities, pending the plans submitted from the provincial governments. It did say it would involve government entities taking over ambulance services and accounting for other vehicles used by the charities.

The document also directs that the name of JuD’s 200-acre headquarters, Markaz-e-Taiba, near the eastern city of Lahore be changed to something else ‘to make it known that the Government of Punjab (province) solely manages and operates the Markaz (HQ)  .  In August, JuD officials formed a new political party, the Milli Muslim League, and backed candidates who fared relatively strongly in two key parliamentary by-elections.The JuD publicly disavows armed militancy inside Pakistan, but offers vocal support for the cause of Kashmir.

The Monday’s notification said the SECP imposed the ban in pursuance of the section 453 of Companies Act 2017. It read: “The UNSC sanctions committee, pursuant to the Resolution 1267 (1999) and other subsequent resolutions, concerning Qaida and associated individuals, approves the addition, amendments and deletion in the consolidated list of individuals and entities subject to the sanctions covering assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in the Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Government of Pakistan under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948, gives effect to the decisions of the UNSC whenever the consolidated list maintained by the sanctions committee is updated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues the Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) to give legal cover for implementing sanction measures under the UNSC resolutions. The consolidated lists available at the UN sanctions committee’s website are regularly updated. The list included the names of JuD, LeT and FIF.”

In his reaction, JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid said: “The government still pulls such stunts for the appeasement of India. Modi government is toying with their Pakistani counterparts; whenever India wants, it exerts pressure on our rulers, who then do even more than what’s asked of them, sometimes by making arrests and sometimes by disrupting our relief activities.”

He continued: “Millions of poor dependence linked to the FIF. It is beyond imagination what kind of radical measures government would take to silence the voices of Kashmir to woo Modi and to prove loyalty to him. Hafiz Saeed was detained by the government for declaring 2017 a year for Kashmiris and now again the similar announcement about 2018 to launch countrywide campaign for Kashmir has irritated India and its faithful Pakistani government.”  Hence it seemed, he said, the reason of govt planning to take the reprehensible steps such as controlling of ambulances and else. “There are clear rulings of the LHC and SC that JuD is free to continue its welfare activities,” he added.