India’s inability to designate the Haqqani brothers as terrorists because of a lacuna in Indian terror laws is turning into a thorny issue for the US, which has complied with almost all Indian requests on terror designations.
The US has designated 13 LeT individuals this year alone, taking the overall tally to 40, over and above the banning of frontal organisations, including the political front of LeT, Milli Muslim League, ahead of the Pakistan elections.
ET has reliably gathered that Washington has now asked New Delhi to expedite its internal processes so that a similar framework of designations is possible here. The US argument is that terror designations must be as specific as possible to be effective.
The problem on the Indian side is that the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act only allows proscribing organisations and not individuals. The government had decided to amend the UAPA to include the category of individuals in the list, but the process hasn’t moved fast enough.
The US, which has raised this issue ahead of the 2+2 dialogue in early September, was expecting the amendments to go through in the monsoon session of Parliament.
The Haqqani brothers have carried out attacks against both India and US interests in Afghanistan. There’s also evidence of collaboration between Haqqani brothers and the LeT.
While India has actively pursued designation of individual terrorists by the US, the annoyance in Washington is that it has been slow at developing a system of its own.
The US also acceded to the Indian request of designating Kashmiri-origin terrorists active from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. This is how Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin was designated a terrorist by the US State Department.
New Delhi is believed to have made a few more requests on persons and outfits active in the Valley.
India and the US have institutionalised a dialogue on terrorist designations so as to align the legal framework at both ends. The idea behind such designation is to ensure financial and travel curbs on individuals and organisations. While the United Nations has its own list which is mandatory on all member states, individual countries impacted by terrorism maintain more exhaustive lists. India did not have a listing system until the UAPA came into force.
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