Will Pakistan prosecute Hafiz Saeed for 26/11 attacks? UNSC team to visit Islamabad this week
As United States and India are increasingly mounting pressure on Pakistan to act against the mastermind behind the 26/11 attacks, Hafiz Saeed, the United Nations Security Council's sanctions monitoring team will visit Islamabad this week to assess Pakistan's compliance with the world bodys sanctions regime.
The UNSC's team will visit Pakistan on a two-day trip starting next Thursday.
"The monitoring team of the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee will be here on January 25 and 26," a senior official told Dawn news.
Pakistani officials, however, insist that the trip is a routine visit and nothing related to the alleged inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and entities linked to him.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert had at a briefing on Friday said that the US had clearly conveyed its concerns to Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed and called for his prosecution "to the fullest extent of the law".
She had recalled that Saeed's name was on the UN list of designated terrorists.
The US reaction had come after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a television interview that, "there is no case against Hafiz Saeed sahib in Pakistan. If there was a case, action would be taken. This is an issue that comes to the fore repeatedly but there is no truth in it".
Anticipating this visit, Pakistani authorities have put an informal ban on the public appearances by Hafiz Saeed, his associate Abdul Rehman Makki and other sanctioned JuD leaders.
Local authorities have also been asked to deny permission to any public event as part of Difa-e-Pakistan, the banner under which Saeed has been organising his rallies, till January 26.
The terms of reference of the monitoring team for Pakistan visit are not publicly known, but as per its general mandate, it assists the 1267 Committee in keeping an eye on the freezing of the financial assets of listed persons and entities and checking provision of training and other material to them and their travel.
The team intimates instances of non-compliance to the committee through its reports. At the same time, it also advises and assists member states on implementation of the regime.
A Pakistani official gave a positive spin to the trip saying it would give an opportunity to share the steps taken by the government to implement the sanctions regime.
Pakistan has remained under the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) scanner over allegations by the US and India about the UNSC sanctions not being fully implemented.
(With inputs from IANS)