Islamabad(RushPRnews)12/12/08– Pakistani authorities on Thursday banned a charity associated with a militant group suspected in last month’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Officials sealed the group’s offices across the country and arrested several leaders, officials and media reports said.
The crackdown came a day after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed sanctions on Pakistan-based charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), declaring it a terrorist organization.
Shahidullah Baig, a spokesman of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that law enforcement agencies were given orders to seal all the offices of the JuD, while the country’s central State Bank of Pakistan has also been asked to freeze its assets.
‘A couple of their leaders have also been arrested and several more are placed under monitoring,’ Baig told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, declining to identify those detained.
Urdu-language Geo news channel reported that JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was put under house arrest for three months at his residence in the eastern city of Lahore.
The charity was included in a list of entities subject to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo by the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee on Wednesday.
The organization is widely believed to be a new front for the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT), which Indian authorities said masterminded the November 26 Mumbai siege that killed more than 170 people.
The Security Council committee also added the names of four men it claimed were LeT leaders to the list of entities and individuals facing sanctions.
These were, according to a UNSC release, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the LeT, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, chief of operations, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, chief of finance and Mohmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a financier of the LeT who had served as the organization’s leader in Saudi Arabia.
The first three were identified as Pakistanis. Bahaziq was identified as a Saudi national.
Besides the JuD, the UNSC also added to its sanctions list six entities it said were front organizations of the Al Rashid Trust and four with links to the Al-Akhtar Trust International.
The Al Rashid Trust and Al-Akhtar International were blacklisted earlier. The two charity organizations are known to be active in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The JuD chief decried the UN action to reporters in Lahore hours before his house arrest.
‘The haste in which the decision has been made … shows that it was not based on (the principles of) rights and justice,’ Saeed said as his press conference that went out live on almost all local television channels.
India has alleged that Saeed and Lakhvi were linked to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai of November 26 that left more than 170 dead, including 26 foreigners.
It had also claimed that the JuD was a front organization for the LeT and requested the UN ban the organization and Saeed.
Source: South Asia News