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Weeks ahead of an expected assessment of its counter-terror financing actions, Pakistan has tightened curbs on eight Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leaders, including its founder Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim by taking steps to enforce UN sanctions against them.

This is perhaps the first time that any government document released by Islamabad lists Dawood Ibrahim’s addresses in Pakistan after continuous denials of India’s allegation of harbouring the 1993 bomb blasts accused.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry quietly issued two statutory regulatory orders on August 18 to enforce UN Security Council sanctions against hundreds of terrorists, including operatives of LeT, JeM, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network and Islamic State, and 93 terrorist groups and entities.

The action clearly appears to have been taken with an eye on the upcoming assessment of Pakistan’s counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes by the Financial Action Task Force, which is expected to take place by October. FATF was scheduled to review Pakistan’s actions in June but the Paris-based watchdog pushed back the deadline by four months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In some cases, Pakistan hadn’t acted on UN sanctions imposed more than a decade ago despite growing pressure from Western countries, including the US. It also repeatedly failed to meet FATF’s deadlines to implement a 27-point action plan, and the watchdog has warned of harsher measures since Pakistan has addressed only 14 of the 27 points in the action plan.

The first statutory regulatory order issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office listed 88 entities, including terror groups, front organisations such as Al Rashid Trust that has been linked to al-Qaeda, and money exchange firms involved in terror financing, and hundreds of terrorists.

Besides Hafiz Saeed, the seven other LeT operatives named in the notification are Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the chief of its operations and one of the main accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, the chief of finance, Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a Saudi national and the leader of LeT in Saudi Arabia, Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, a founding member and deputy to Saeed, Zafar Iqbal, co-founder of the group who has held senior positions in its front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, a former spokesman, and Arif Qasmani, who was associated with al-Qaeda.