ISLAMABAD: The first addition in the list of proscribed organisations made by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has taken the total number of banned outfits to 67.
The latest addition to the list is Yemen-based Al-Rahmah Welfare Trust Organisation (ARWTO) and the reason for its placement on the list of terrorist outfits is said to be its links with Al Qaeda.
A federal minister when contacted told Dawn that ARWTO was found to be having links with Al Qaeda.
According to an updated list of proscribed organisations placed by the National Counter Terrorism Authority on its website, ARWTO was formally outlawed on Dec 13, 2018. The only other addition in the list during that year was that of Jundullah, that had been proscribed on Jan 31, 2018. Jundullah had been formed by Abdol Malek Regi who had been captured and executed in Iran in 2010.
With latest addition, number of proscribed outfits rises to 67; JuD, FIF continue to be on watch-list
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Mohammad Pakistan were placed on the list on Aug 14, 2001 and Jaish-i-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, Tehreek-i-Islami and Tehreek-i-Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammadi on Jan 14, 2002. The Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan was put on the list on Jan 28, 2002, followed by Al Qaeda on March 17, 2003, Millat-i-Islamia Pakistan and Khuddamul Islam on Nov 15, 2003 and Islami Tehreek Pakistan on Nov 15, 2003.
Three more organisations — the Jamiatul Ansar, Jamiatul Furqan and Hizbut Tehrir — were banned on Nov 20, 2003, and Khair-un-Naas International Trust was banned on Oct 27, 2004.
The Balochistan Liberation Army was placed on the list on April 7, 2006, and Islamic Students Movement of Pakistan on Aug 21, 2006.
Another four groups were banned after a gap of about two years — the Lashkar-i-Islam, Ansarul Islam and Haji Namdar Group on June 30, 2008, and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan on Aug 25, 2008.
Five militant organisations from Balochistan — the Balochistan Republican Army, Balochistan Liberation Front, Lashkar-i-Balochistan, Balochistan Liberation United Front and Balochistan Musallah Difa Tanzeem — were put on the list on Sept 8, 2010.
Three organisations from Gilgit — the Shia Tulaba Action Committee, Markaz Sabeel Organisation and Tanzeem Naujawanan-i-Ahle Sunnat — and Peoples Aman Committee (Lyari), Karachi, were placed on the list on Oct 10, 2011.
The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a reincarnation of Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, was banned on Feb 15, 2012, followed by Al Harmain Foundation and Rabita Trust on March 6, 2012, and Anjuman-i-Imamia and Muslim Students Organisation (both from Gilgit-Baltistan) on April 24, 2012.
The Tanzeem Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Gilgit-Baltistan) appeared on the list on June 5, 2012 while Balochistan Bunyad Parast Army, Tehreek Nafaz-i-Aman, Tahafuz Hadudullah, Balochistan Waja Liberation Army, Islam Mujahideen, Jaish-i-Islam and Balochistan National Liberation Army were banned on Aug 4, 2012.
The list was widely expanded in 2013 with the addition of the Khana-i-Hikmat Gilgit-Baltistan on March 13 and Tehreek-i-Taliban Swat, Tehreek-i-Taliban Mohmand, Tariq Jeedar Group, Abdullah Azam Brigade, East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, 313 Brigade, Tehreek-i-Taliban Bajaur, Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkir (Haji Namdar Group), Baloch Student Organisation-Azad, United Baloch Army and Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz on March 15, 2013.
Since then, the list remained unchanged till July 15, 2015, when the name of Daesh (the Arabic acronym of the militant Islamic State organisation) was placed on the list of banned organisations. This was the only addition to the list during the last two and a half years.
The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami were added to the list on Nov 11, 2016 followed by Ansar ul Hussain on Dec 30, 2016.
The Tehreek-i-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir was the only addition made to the list in 2017. The organisation was outlawed on June 8, 2017.
Jundullah and the Al Rahmah Welfare Trust are the only two additions to the list made since then, the first by the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government on Jan 31, 2018 and the other by the incumbent government on Dec 13.
According to the list, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) continue to be on the watch-list, besides Ghulaman-i-Sahaba (GS) and Maymar Trust.
In February last year, the then president Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, with regard to proscription of terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the UN Security Council — in a move to declare JuD and FIF proscribed groups. However, the ordinance lapsed after expiry of 120 days and was neither re-promulgated nor brought before the parliament as a bill.
The Al-Akhtar Trust and Al-Rasheed Trust are the two organisations listed under the UN Security Council resolution No. 1267, since Dec 2005.
The successive governments have played soft on the banned outfits, allowing their leaders and activists to contest general elections. Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, chief of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a banned organisation, contested both the previous general elections.
Though a decision had been made in 2016 to tighten noose around members of banned outfits and under observation suspects by cancelling their passports and blocking their computerised national identity cards, it practically could not happen. Known members of such organisations freely move and even proceed abroad – mostly to perform Haj and Umrah.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019