State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) while taking an important step to stop the financial support of terrorists has issued the directions to all the banks in the country to freeze some 2,021 bank accounts that have millions of rupees and are present in the list of the fourth schedule of the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.
According to the sources, all the banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), and micro-finance banks are instructed to take legal action against the people whose names are included in the list issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).
Section 0-11 of the ATA gives the power to the banks and the concerned organizations to directly or indirectly seize the money and the property of the people included in the list.
1,443 people included in the list belong to Punjab, 226 to Sindh, 193 belong to Balochistan, 106 are from the Gilgit-Baltistan, 27 are from Islamabad and 26 belong to Azad Kashmir while no one belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the copy of the list of 2,021 bank accounts received to Dawn, most of the accounts are owned by the members of the religious political parties and their names are sent to the banks with a list of instructions. The list sent to the banks does not include all the names that were provided in the fourth schedule of the ATA.
On the other hand, the senior authority of the counter-terrorism says that the full list has the names of around 6,500 – 8,000 names. The federal government includes any such person into the fourth schedule who receives the allegations of his participation in any kind of terrorism.
It is for the first time that the SBP has ordered the banks to freeze such a large number of bank accounts. Tariq Parvez, the former co-ordinator of NACTA has stated that it is a great step by the State Bank of Pakistan and said that he was waiting for this order for a long time.