Srinagar: The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) headed by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed are no more on the list of banned outfits after the presidential ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution lapsed, Dawn reported on Friday.
During the hearing on Thursday of a petition filed by Hafiz Saeed, his counsel informed the Islamabad High Court that the presidential ordinance had lapsed and it had never been extended.
The petitioner had challenged the ordinance under which his organisations had been banned for being on the watch list of the United Nations Security Council.
In February this year, former president Mamnoon Hussain promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, with regards to proscription of terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the UN Security Council — in a move to declare JuD and FIF as proscribed groups.
Hafiz Saeed’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich appeared before Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC. On a query, the counsel informed the court that the PTI government did not extend the ordinance or table it in parliament to convert it into an act.
Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan confirmed that the ordinance had lapsed. He, however, declined the request of advocate Abbasi for giving a statement on behalf of the interior ministry regarding the lapse of the ordinance.
Khan informed the court that since the petitioner did not cite the interior ministry as a respondent, he could not give a statement unless the petition was amended and the interior secretary added as a party in the petition.
Subsequently, Justice Farooq held that the petition became infructuous since the ordinance challenged by the petitioner had lapsed.
The judge disposed of the petition with an observation that in case the government renewed this ordinance, the petitioner was at liberty to file another petition against the promulgation of the law.
Hafiz Saeed contended in the petition that he established JuD in 2002 and cut off all ties with the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba, but India continued to malign JuD for its past association with the banned outfit.
The petitioner said he was kept in detention in 2009 and 2017 due to India’s pressure. He added that the UN Security Council had passed a resolution against JuD after which the government of Pakistan put it on the watch list.
The JuD chief termed it against the sovereignty of Pakistan that an ordinance was issued to ban his organisation.
The petitioner claimed that the promulgation of the ordinance and addition of Section 11-EE were not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
He said that any law which was violative of constitutional provisions was liable to be struck down.
The petitioner argued that under Article 199 of the Constitution, the court was competent to strike down any legislation which was beyond the scope of the Constitution or ultra vires. He requested the court that the vires of the ordinance and consequent amendment in sections 11 B and 11-EE of the ATA might be declared illegal.
According to a list updated on Sept 5 on the National Counter Terrorism Authority’s website, 66 organisations have been banned in the country and JuD and FIF are not among them. However, the two Hafiz Saeed-linked organisations are “under watch by the ministry of interior” under Section 11-D-(1), read with Schedule-II of the ATA.