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Did Pakistan Just Reveal Wanted Terrorist Dawood Ibrahim Lives there?

Organised Crime Lord and fugitive Dawood Ibrahim has been wanted since 1993, when he caused 257 fatalities and 1,400 injuries as the mastermind of a series of bombings in Mumbai. There is possibly no crime him and his group haven't committed: large-scale shipment of narcotics, prostitution, illicit gambling, extortion and forgery among others. Recently, Dawood Ibrahim was seemingly 'located' in Pakistan.  

This information came to light on 18th August, when Pakistan published a “routine” document (Statutory Regulatory Order or SRO). It listed eighty-eight banned terror outfits and leaders that they would be imposing sanctions on. According to Pakistani media, these sanctions include seizure of all movable and immovable properties of the listed, travel ban, arms embargo and freezing of their bank accounts directed by certain UN resolutions.

These sanctions were allegedly imposed to avoid prosecution by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The document contained details such as multiple Indian and Pakistani passports as well as three of Dawood Ibrahim's addresses, one of which is "White House, near Saudi Mosque, Clifton in Karachi”, where the Pakistani army and intelligence brass were reported attending Dawood's son- Moin Nawaz’s wedding.

Contrarily, in his latest statements, PM Imran Khan calls these headlines “baseless and misleading”, saying that the SROs are routinely issued to the UN and their information is “publicly available”. He also says, “Assertions made by some sections of the Indian media, as to Pakistan admitting to the presence of certain listed individuals on its territory, based on the information contained in the SRO” are not accurate because it “contains names of individuals who despite their confirmed deceased status still continue to be on the sanctions list.” 

An interesting path to walk is this: the Pakistani foreign ministry's UNSC sanctions section, where records of SROs dating back to 2015 can be found. Confirming PM Khan's statements, there are no changes in them……..except for the name of Dawood's birthplace and numbers of properties. 

However, a majority of the SROs had a reference to ‘2020/01’ in their URLs, suggesting a January 2020 upload, including the December 2015, March 2016 and July 2017 SROs. Could this mean that these were altered or just uploaded late- or is it as Indian officials suggest? It could also possibly be to deflect or deny the fact that Dawood does live in Pakistan and seeks patronage from its government.

India has taken to the UN and pressed multiple times, expressing their contempt towards Pakistan for housing and nurturing their fugitive, but Pakistan has denied this claim wholly, even during the 2019 extradition trial of Jabir Motiwala, where records show that the Attorney's affidavit for extradition read out by Moti's barrister states: "The head of D Company is Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian Muslim currently in exile in Pakistan." 

Pakistan has created a deep enigma surrounding Dawood Ibrahim's whereabouts. Given Pakistan's track record, it is plausible that they may be trying to provide him security and shelter. 

A man as powerful and connected as Dawood Ibrahim can go anywhere and pick an identity or alias that suits him. A testament to this is the fact that he has citizenship of a small caribbean country, Commonwealth of Dominica (CoD), and was even reported deceased due to the coronavirus. 

Whether it stands true that, as anonymous government sources say, Pakistan has admitted his presence or that this public record could have been in the government's radar and is now being used as a political tool due to PM Modi’s dropping popularity, the bottom line remains: Dawood's current whereabouts are and probably will remain unknown. 

Reporter- Katyayani Nath

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