ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to ban Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a charity organisation and a subsidiary of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeJ).

Well-placed sources in the federal government told The Nation that the Ministry of Interior has started serious consultations with all the stakeholders before banning FIF and final decision would be taken in next few days.

It is a demand within the country and internationally that both JuD and FIF should be banned, as these were the new names of the banned LeT.

The government of Pakistan had banned LeT on January 14, 2002 in the aftermath of December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament but the organisation continued to operate under the new names of JuD and FIF.

An official of the federal government confirmed that the Ministry of Interior was looking into all implications of the likely decision to ban FIF and said that the discussions had been held with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) besides other key stakeholders of the government.

However, the official said there was no proposal under consideration for banning JuD, another name of banned LeT.

The government had placed both JuD and FIF on its watch-list on December 10, 2008 and in March 2012 respectively under the UN Security Council resolution and both are facing international sanctions.

It was part of the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) on Counter Terrorism, announced by the federal government in December 2014 after Army Public School (APS) terrorist attack in Peshawar that the defunct outfits would not be allowed to operate under any other name.

However, human rights organisations and civil society had been raising their voices that the government was reluctant to take action against those proscribed organisations that were operating with new names.

US President Barack Obama in his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Washington last year had also asked Pakistan to act against JuD and its subsidiary organisation under the UNSCR.

On November 2, 2015, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), the electronic media watchdog of the country, had banned electronic media coverage of banned LeT and JuD, as well as FIF.

A circular issued by the PEMRA said, “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior, under National Action Plan (NAP) have banned all kind of coverage of banned Jamaatud Dawa, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation under UN Resolution 1267”.

PEMRA strictly directed all satellite TV channels and FM radio licensees not to give any kind of coverage to any proscribed organisation including JuD, FIF and LeT in breach of obligations under UN Security Council resolutions. The language of the direction was incorrect as JuD and FIF are not banned organisations till yet.

JuD approached to the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the decision of PEMRA and the case is still pending.

Asif Rana, Islamabad chapter spokesman of JuD, said that FIF was involved in charity work in four areas including health, education, supply of clean drinking water and rescue operations in disasters.

“FIF performs charity activities throughout the country. We have ambulance service, free dispensaries and we establish free medical camps in different parts of the country,” he said.

The organisation is doing a project to provide clean drinking water in Thar, Sindh and Balochistan, he said, adding FIF runs rescue centres in various cities where trained staff used to reach the spot in case of natural disasters and fire incidents. The organisation has a network of schools and it provides free of cost education to the needy people, he said.

About PEMRA ban, Asif said that UNSC’s sanctions were not regarding freedom of speech and freedom of expression. These sanctions include ban on international travelling, opening of bank accounts and purchase of weapons.

He said the Interior Ministry and Foreign Office even had said that they had not issued any directions to the regulatory authority.

The version of the Ministry of Interior could not be taken, as it has officially no designated spokesman.

On December 16, the Ministry of Interior had informed the Senate that there were total 61 proscribed organisations that had been banned from carrying out activities in the country.

After March 15, 2013, the government has only banned Islamic State (IS) in July 15, 2015.