The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
http://www.iht. com/bin/printfri endly.php? id=13281213

leaders ofLashkar-e-Tayyaba’¬†

 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A Pakistani Islamic charity group labeled a terrorist
organization by the U.S. denied Wednesday it had links with al-Qaida, as
Washington imposes financial sanctions on its leader.

The Bush administration moved Tuesday to sanction four alleged top figures
in Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, an outlawed militant group fighting against India in
the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The U.S. Treasury described the group as a “dangerous al-Qaida affiliate
that has demonstrated its willingness to murder innocent civilians.” The
sanctions mean any assets of the four found in the U.S. must be blocked and
that U.S. citizens are forbidden from doing business with them.

The Treasury named the group’s chief as Mohammed Saeed, head of the
Jamaat-ud-Dawa group that emerged after Pakistan’s government banned
Lashkar-e-Tayyaba in 2001.

In April 2006, the U.S. Department of State listed Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its
affiliate Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq as terrorist organizations for being
“aliases” of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.

They claim to be religious organizations that promote Islamic education and
do charitable work.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa denies involvement in militancy. Its spokesman Mohammed Yahya
Mujahid denied Wednesday that Saeed was still involved in Lashkar-e-Tayyaba
and claimed the U.S. statement was “based (on) enmity with Islam, lack of
knowledge and ignorance.”

“America cannot prove in any court in the world Hafiz Mohammed Saeed’s links
with incidents of terrorism,” Mujahid said in a statement. “The recent step
by America is a result of Indian propaganda and an effort to pressure
Pakistan’s government.”

The U.S. Treasury said Saeed plays a key role in Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’ s
operational and fundraising activities globally. It named the other three
leaders as Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the group’s chief of operations; Haji
Mohammed Ashraf, the chief of finance; and Mahmoud Mohammed Ahmed Bahaziq, a
main financier.

The U.S. government said Lashkar-e-Tayyaba has carried out numerous attacks
against Indian military and civilian targets since 1993. The government of
India implicated the group in the July 2006 deadly attack on Mumbai commuter
trains and the December 2001 attack against the Indian Parliament, the
Treasury said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry could not be reached for comment on the U.S.
action.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa had a prominent role in assisting victims of a massive
earthquake in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir in October 2005 that killed
nearly 80,000 people.

 

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