The Security and Exchange Commission’s (SECP) notification aimed at imposing restrictions on all groups and individuals from collecting funds from listed companies can be seen as state’s response to international pressure to isolate such outfits and individuals and hamper their activities through every possible means. Also, the move of SECP can be seen as state’s commitment to put a stop to terror financing– a subject discussed in the National Action Plan (NAP) back in 2015. The government and one of its many supervisory bodies on finance should have taken this step long ago, but even now it’s not all lost, and the government deserves some appreciation for the action it has taken.
However, it is also worth reiterating that the notification is not directly aimed at Jamaat-u-Dawa or Hafiz Saeed or any particular terror outfit that operate in the country. The announcement is too indirect and too little. It is not wrong to assume that until the government and its law enforcement agencies support the notification through constant vigilance, it will not stand on its own as all such steps made in the past tell the tale of inefficacy.
Moreover, the notification of SECP is only putting a bar on the registered companies to give financial support to the banned organisations listed under the sanction committee’s list. This means that unregistered companies, other groups, and individuals can still make financial contributions to help the proscribed organisations to carry on with their activities.
In recent past, the government of Pakistan had run awareness campaigns in different cities to bar people from providing any financial help to organisations that were put on the second schedule under NAP. However, little success did the government achieve as it is evident from the fact that these organisations are still working with full force. Keeping in mind that previous bans were lacking implementations, there is no reason to see the recent step of SECP will choke the process of financing these listed outfits and groups.
Considering the whole “house arrest” spectacle, involving people in upper echelons of power and decision-making, including the interior minister, defence minister, and DG ISPR, the state’s will to curtail the activities or crackdown on Hafiz Saeed, and his organisation remains nil. Another problem, in this case, is that the proscribed organisations always have the option of getting registered under some other pseudonym thus avoiding the gaze of watchdogs. If the state can pre-empt the proscribed associations from getting registered under different names, only then one can be satisfied with the government’s operations against such groups. If the state fails in it, then one can question the intentions behind the issued notification and see it as yet another eyewash.