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US urges Pakistan to enact law banning radical groups

US urges Pakistan to enact law banning radical groups

Washington/Islamabad:The US has urged Pakistan to immediately enact a legislation that formally ban radical religious groups, a media report said on Thursday.

The US' suggestion on Wednesday followed a decision announced last week for ending a ban on Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), which Washington designates as terrorist groups, the Dawn report said.

The Pakistani media late last month had reported that the two outfits, that manage a large charity network with the help of thousands of volunteers, temporarily came off the list of banned outfits in Islamabad because the ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution had lapsed.

The Imran Khan government is working on a proposal to extend the ban.

The development underscores the importance of Pakistan "urgently enacting legislation that formally proscribes" both JuD and FIF, a spokesperson for the US State Department told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

"The expiration of the ban on JuD and FIF runs counter to Pakistan's commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to address weaknesses in its counter-terrorism financing regime.

"As we have said before, the US is deeply concerned that this development will jeopardise Pakistan's ability to meet its commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 to freeze and prevent the raising and moving of funds belonging to or associated with UN-designated terrorist groups," the spokesperson said.

In February, former President Mamnoon Hussain signed an amendment to the antiterrorism law that allowed the state to ban charities linked to Saeed.

The Constitution, however, requires a presidential amendment to be ratified or renewed by the parliament within four months of its issuance.

Recently, Saeed filed a petition, arguing that the amendment to Pakistan's antiterrorism law had become unconstitutional as the parliament failed to ratify it, Dawn said.

Saeed initially headed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), formed in the 1980s, which was designated a terrorist outfit by the US, the UN, Britain, Russia and the European Union.

In 2012, the US announced a $10 million bounty for Saeed's arrest. Pakistan has also banned the group.

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