The UN Security Council's 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee has given a go-ahead for a monthly payment of Pakistani Rupee 1.5 lakh for Mumbai terror attack plotter Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a proscribed UN terrorist, to meet his expenses.
The Sanctions Committee this week approved the payment that will include expenses of about Rs 45,000 for medicines, food (Rs 50,000), public utility charges (Rs 20,000), lawyer fees (Rs 20,000) and transportation (Rs 15,000) to be accessed monthly from Lakhvi's bank account, which has been frozen since he is a listed terrorist, sources said.
Lakhvi, 60, was designated as a global terrorist by the UN in December 2008 for being associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda and for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both entities.
Proscribed terrorists and entities are subject to an assets freeze, wherein all states are required to freeze funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities, a travel ban that prevents the entry into or transit through nations' territories by the designated individuals and an arms embargo.
The 1267 Committee has also approved a request by the Pakistan government for a monthly payment to Mahmood Sultan Bashir-Ud-Din, a nuclear scientist who founded and served as a director of Ummah Tameer e-Nau (UTN) and who was listed by the UN in 2001. UTN provided Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Taliban with information about the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
During UTN visits to Afghanistan, Bashir-Ud-Din met Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda leaders and discussed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 2001, Bashir-Ud-Din also met Taliban leader Mullah Omar. During a follow-up meeting, an associate of bin Laden indicated that he had nuclear material and wanted to know how to use it to make a weapon. Bashir-Ud-Din provided information about the infrastructure needed for a nuclear weapons program and the effects of nuclear weapons.
In September last year, 26/11 mastermind and banned JuD chief Hafiz Saeed was allowed by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to withdraw money from his bank account for basic expenses on Pakistan's request. The Security Council Resolution 1267 provides for states to sanction basic expenses of the designated individuals if there is no objection over it. As per the rules of the Sanctions Committee, approval for such expenses for designated terrorists is granted unless all 15 members of the Committee oppose it within three days of getting such a request. Even if only one member state does not oppose the request while the rest do, the approval is deemed granted.
However, this raises questions about whether a monthly amount of as high as Rs 1.5 lakh for expenses is reasonable for a designated UN terrorist, and that such access to funds constitutes circumvention of the asset freeze and the sanctions regime.