Washington: Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed may have to wait for the appointment of a new Security Council ombudsperson to hear his petition to remove his name from the UN’s list of designated terrorists. Saeed was designated as a global terrorist by a Security Council’s Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee on 10 December, 2008.
The US too has designated him as a global terrorist and has announced a reward of $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Saeed’s Lahore-based attorney has said that the Jammat- ud-Dawa leader has filed a petition in the UN seeking removal of his name from the list of designated terrorists on the ground that none of the allegations against him has been proved in the Pakistani courts.
Saeed’s petition to delist him from the UN list of designated terrorists might be put on hold. The request to delist a person from the UN list of designated terrorists are considered by an independent ombudsperson, which based on its investigations recommends to delisting of a designated terrorist by the Security Council.
The post of Ombudsperson has been lying vacant since 7 August this year when Catherine Marchi-Uhel left office. The new Ombudsperson has not yet been appointed. The Office of the Ombudsperson remains operational and accepts new delisting requests during the transition period, says a statement on the UN website. A number of phone calls to the office of Ombudsman and emails sent by PTI were unanswered.
The Office of the Ombudsperson of the Security Council’s 1267 Committee says that there is currently one case pending with the Committee, besides that of Saeed. LeT was designated as a terrorist organisation by the UN on 2 May, 2005. India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to re-investigate the Mumbai terror attack case and also demanded trial of Saeed and Lakhvi in the light of evidence it had provided to Islamabad.
India had expressed outrage over the decision of the judicial board to release Saeed, calling it an attempt by Pakistan to mainstream proscribed terrorists and a reflection of its continuing support to non-state actors. The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.
Saeed, who is accused of having masterminded the November 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, was placed on the terrorism black list by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack but he was freed by a court in 2009.