The United States has “commended” India for its move to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and two others are terrorists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act.
“We stand w/ #India & commend it for utilizing new legal authorities to designate 4 notorious terrorists: Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi & Dawood Ibrahim. This new law expands possibilities for joint #USIndia efforts to combat scourge of terrorism, (sic)” Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, tweeted on Thursday.
LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim are the other two individuals declared as terrorists under the new anti-terror law.
The declaration was made through a gazette notification issued on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday informed that Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar have been declared terrorists and their names added to Schedule 4 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019.
“All of the above are involved in terrorist attacks in India, and have been designated as global terrorists under United Nations,” the MHA statement read.
“Earlier when terrorist organizations were banned, the individuals associated with it simply changed names and continued to carry out terrorist activities,” it concluded.
The decisions have been taken nearly a month after Parliament approved crucial amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
While Hafiz Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Masood Azhar was responsible for the Pulwama attack in February as well as the 2001 attack on parliament.
A Home Ministry official had earlier said that Azhar and Saeed will be the first two individuals to be declared as terrorists once Rajya Sabha passes the Bill and the amendments come into effect.
With Azhar, Saeed, Lakhvi and Dawood declared terrorists, the government can now seize their properties and impose travel ban on them.
An individual designated as a terrorist can appeal to the Union Home Secretary who will have to dispose of the appeal within 45 days.
In addition, a review committee headed by a sitting or retired judge with at least two retired secretaries of the government of India as members can be approached against the decision of declaration of an individual as a terrorist.
Meanwhile, the United Nations on May 1 designated Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, a decade after New Delhi approached the world body for the first time on the issue.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the United States, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Hafiz Saeed to justice.
Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.