Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

Pakistan has recently been placed on an international watchlist for failing to curb terrorist financing. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 22 February 2019

Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

  • The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India
  • The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of a militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday.
The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir.
The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Pakistan’s National Security Committee, made up of top military and civilian officials, decided late on Thursday to ban the charities liked to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who has long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
The United States and India have blamed the LeT for numerous deadly militant attacks, including a four-day siege by gunmen in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.
The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s his arrest and conviction.
“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organizations,” Pakistan’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Saeed, who denies being the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks and says he has no links to militant violence, has maintained that the two charities — the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) — are vital for helping the poor and have militant ties.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said the two groups would turn to the courts to overturn the latest ban.
Saeed has been placed under house arrest several times over the past decade but he has always been released after a few months and has mostly been living freely in Pakistan, to the anger of both India and the United States.
Pakistan has long banned the LeT but for many years allowed its charity wings to operate an extensive network including 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services.
The United States has repeatedly complained about Pakistan’s failure to shut down the charities it deems “terrorist fronts” for LeT.
Pakistan last year banned the two charities but the order was temporary and it lapsed.
India has ratcheted up pressure on Pakistan since the Feb. 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
India accused Pakistan of having a hand in the attack. Pakistan denies that.
Pakistan has also been placed on an international watchlist for failing to curb terrorist financing.


Bomb ‘intended to kill police’ detonates on Northern Ireland border

Updated 8 min 7 sec ago

Bomb ‘intended to kill police’ detonates on Northern Ireland border

LONDON: An explosive device described as an attempted trap for security forces detonated in a village on the Northern Ireland border on Monday, but failed to injure anyone.
Police and bomb disposal experts had been working in the area of Newtownbutler over the weekend since receiving an initial report about a suspect device on Saturday.
“I am of the firm belief this was a deliberate attempt to lure police and ATO (Anti-Terrorism Officer) colleagues into the area to murder them,” Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.
Martin later told reporters that two Irish republican dissident groups, the New IRA and the Continuity IRA, “would be a very good starting point for the investigation.”
He added: “It’s fair to say their level of activity has increased this year.”
Concerns have grown that the possible return of a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit could increase security tensions in the once war-torn province.
Martin said violent attacks had grown in recent months, calling on politicians to take action to heal enduring divisions in society.
“Terrorism of this nature is a societal problem,” he said. “We shouldn’t take our peace for granted.”
Three decades of conflict known as “the Troubles,” in which more than 3,500 people were killed, largely ended in Northern Ireland with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Violent incidents have continued, however.
In April, a journalist was shot dead by Irish republican dissidents during rioting in Londonderry.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for this bomb attack, which could have had devastating consequences,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.
“There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims,” he said.