Pakistan bans companies from donating cash to UN-proscribed entities, individuals

In this file photo, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal, speaks with a Reuters correspondent during an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan on June 12, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 January 2018
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Pakistan bans companies from donating cash to UN-proscribed entities, individuals

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has banned all registered corporate companies from donating cash to entities and individuals proscribed by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
“Their accounts are frozen, and the law regarding charitable organizations is being further strengthened to impose higher penalties on donations to proscribed organizations,” Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal told Arab News.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the country’s apex corporate regulator, said a fine of up to 10 million rupees ($90,600) would be imposed on companies found guilty of violating the ban.
The SECP said it “hereby prohibits all companies from donating cash to the entities and individuals listed under the UNSC sanctions committee’s consolidated list.”
The Interior Ministry has so far proscribed 65 organizations and splinter groups — including Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al-Harmain Foundation — as well as individuals.
The US has labeled the JuD and FIF as “terrorist fronts” for the LeT, which America and India blame for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
The JuD and FIF operate large charity networks across Pakistan, includes hospitals, seminaries, a publishing house, medical centers and ambulances.
The charities also set up free medical camps across the country all year round, and provide emergency support during natural disasters.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said the organization will go to court if the government takes any action against it and the FIF.
“We will not remain silent. We will fight a legal battle,” he said in a statement following reports of possible action against the charities.
“Courts have given permission to JuD to continue with their preaching, relief and welfare activities freely,” he said. “Despite this, the government often takes such steps only to please India.”
Sajid Gondal, a deputy director at the SECP, told Arab News: “For the first time, we’ve barred companies from donating cash to proscribed outfits. It’s a law now, and we’ll ensure its strict implementation.”
He said the regulator will monitor companies’ financial statements and annual returns, and impose hefty fines on those found guilty of violating the law.
But Afzal Ali Shigri, a former police inspector general, told Arab News: “I believe that none of the banned charities receive donations through banks and other traditional channels. All of them receive cash donations either by hand or through illegal channels.”


Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

Updated 37 min 24 sec ago
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Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

  • More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013
  • Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children

LONDON: More than half of homeless families in Britain now have at least one adult in work after a sharp rise in the number of employed people unable to afford a secure home, a leading homelessness charity said on Monday.

More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013, according to a study by Shelter’s social housing commission that blamed rising private rents, a freeze on benefits and a shortage of social housing.

“It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness,” said Shelter CEO Polly Neate in a statement.

“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B (bed and breakfast) where their whole family is forced to share a room.

“A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework.”

Mary Smith, 47, works full time in retail and lives in a hostel near London with her three sons after she was evicted by her landlord and became unable to afford private rent.

“I was brought up by a very proud Irish woman, and taught that you don’t discuss things like your finances - so letting my colleagues at work know what’s happening is very hard,” said Smith in a statement.

“I’m not hopeful for our future. I think it’s going to be this constant, vicious circle of moving from temporary place to temporary place, when all my family want is to settle down.”

Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children, government data shows.

Losing a tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness in Britain, accounting for 27 percent of all households accepted as homeless in the last year, said Shelter.

The proportion of working homeless families, from security guards to hotel workers, has increased at different rates across Britain, with the East Midlands and North West England faring the worst, the report found.

It defines working families as those where at least one adult is in work.

Despite this, homeless charity Crisis said last month that Britain could end homelessness within a decade if it invested more in social housing and welfare benefits.

Britain’s parliament last year passed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which was designed to ensure that local councils increased obligations towards homeless people.

The government has also set an ambitious target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.