BBC News

Saeed has been put under house arrest for three months: BBC News

BBC News:

Cleric Hafiz Mohammad Saeed set up the group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India says planned and carried out the attacks.

Pakistan is also closing offices of Mr Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, after it was put on a UN blacklist.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry told the BBC that Jamaat-ud-Dawa buildings would be shut across the country immediately.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani promised Pakistan would comply with a UN Security Council demand to list Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a terrorist group.

Once a group has been placed on the list, action can be taken against it under the country’s anti-terrorism law.

Under that law, all assets of the organisation can be seized and its offices and other places of business shut down, our correspondent says.

Mr Saeed officially quit the leadership of Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2001 to become head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

Also on Thursday, an Indian magistrate extended policy custody of the lone surviving suspected gunman from the Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, until 24 December.

Pak’s actions follow Indian Interior Minister P. Chidambaram’s statement that “the finger of suspicion unmistakeably points to the territory of our neighbour Pakistan” after India’s Parliament joined to begin discussing revisions to their anti-terror laws and the UNSC listed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JD) as a terrorist group:

The investigation conducted by India, Pakistan and other cooperating countries has produced new evidence that Lashkar e Tayyiba operatives were directly engaged in planning and providing material support and assistance for the series of Mumbai urban attacks that shook the international community as well as India. Based upon this investigation, and the formal request of the Government of India, the United Nations Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions committee agreed December 10th to expanded its designation of Lashkar e Tayyiba to specifically include 4 of its leaders, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, and Mohmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq. The United States had been pushing for this action since last May. The UN Committee has now also agreed to clarify that the Lashkar e Tayyiba designation also applies to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), which has long operated as an LET front organization (see below).

I expressed my concerns here two years ago with the UN Committee’s failure to designate Jammat-ud-Dawa along with Laskkar e Tayyiba, or to designate Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who was the founder and leader of both organization. Leaving Jammat and Muhammad Saeed undesignated left them free to recruit , arm and solicit funds for Lashkar’s terrorist activities. I wrote:

“Jamaat was established by the same group that led Lashkar-e-Taiba in order to circumvent the sanctions measures that flowed from this designation. Yet, it took the Administration another six months to get around to confirming this linkage and to designating Jamaat as a successor/partner organization to Lashkar-e-taiba. … But what is still surprising is that no action has yet been taken to designate Lashkar’s founder, Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed, who is also the head of Jamaat ud-Dawa….(H)olding the leaders responsible, and penalizing them, is even more important and would be a much more effective step then seeking only to close down the charities they run. Experience has shown that you can’t truly shut down these operations unless you also put their leaders and organizers out of business.’’

Lashkar-e-Taiba was founded in 1989 in the Kunar province of Afghanistan as the military wing of Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), an Islamic fundamentalist organisation of the Ahle-Hadith sect in Pakistan. The MDI was based in Muridke near Lahore, Pakistan and was headed by Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed, who also became the Amir of the LeT. Its first presence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was recorded in 1993 when 12 Pakistani and Afghan mercenaries infiltrated across the Line of Control (LoC) in tandem with the Islami Inquilabi Mahaz, a terrorist outfit then active in the Poonch district of J&K. Lashkar has established cooperative ties with religious militant groups throughout the middle east, southeast asia and in areas of the former soviet union. It is believed to have also been active in supporting the insurgency in Chechnya. The organization was designated as a terrorist group by the US Treasury Department in December 2001.. However, Pakistan, then a member of the UN Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee was able to forestall a UN decision to also designate the group. Lashkar was finally added to the UN’s consolidated al Qaeda designation list on May 2, 2005, after Pakistan’s tenure on the Al Qaeda Committee had ended.

Pak PM Gilani reiterated that “Pakistan is a responsbile and peace-loving nation and would not be provoked by India’s jingoistic attitude.”

Indo-Pak’s air forces and navies remain on high alert while working to avoid war as India calls on Pakistan to hand over 40 suspects and the BJP continues its nationalistic sabre-rattling as the political football game continues:

India has called for Pakistan to hand over 40 suspects after the terror attacks that left 171 dead, a move that has raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. However, India’s foreign minister said Thursday that war is “not the solution.”

The list of fugitives includes militants suspected in last month’s Mumbai attacks, as well as those who have committed “other crimes” against India in the past, Foreign Minister tion> said in his first speech to parliament since the Mumbai siege last month.

Fugitives who have committed crimes in India are sheltering in Pakistan, he said. He added that he had told Pakistani leaders, “You arrest them, and hand them over to us.”

Islamabad said it will arrest anyone proved linked to terror crimes and try them in Pakistani courts. Authorities there have insisted that the government was not tied to the attacks, which they say were carried out by “non-state actors.”

Mukherjee dismissed that argument Thursday.

“Are the non-state actors coming from heaven? Or are they coming from a different planet?” he said.

Pakistani authorities have arrested two senior leaders from Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned Pakistani-based militant group suspected in the Mumbai attacks. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah are in Pakistani custody and are under investigation.

Officials have said Lakhvi was arrested Sunday in a raid on a militant camp close to the Indian border.

Lal Krishna Advani, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which is looking to unseat the Congress party in the coming elections, said the raids on Lashkar were not enough.

“We should not be fooled by this kind of actions,” Advani said before parliament. “We consider it a war.”

On Wednesday, police identified two more people involved in the training of the 10 attackers.

One of the trainers, identified only as Khafa and described as a senior operative in the banned Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was their main handler after the men were selected for the attack, Rakesh Maria, Mumbai’s chief police investigator.

The other man, another senior Lashkar militant identified as Abu Hamza, was responsible for much of the training they received while sequestered in a house in Azizabad, Pakistan, for three months to prepare for the attack, Maria said.

Abu Hamza was believed to be one of two gunmen responsible for the 2005 attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, that killed one scientist, Maria said. After that attack, Abu Hamza escaped back to Pakistan, he said.

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