WASHINGTON: The US Department of State amended its designation of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Monday, identifying Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-i-Azadi-i-Kashmir (TAK) as LeT affiliates, which makes it impossible for them to register as political parties.

The US Treasury Department also updated its list of individual terrorists, naming seven members of the MML leadership as LeT activists who were acting in MML on behalf of LeT.

The State Department described the MML and the TAK as LeT ‘aliases’ and added their names to its lists of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).

“In August 2017, LeT chief Hafiz Saeed created the MML to serve as a political front for the group. LeT members make up MML’s leadership and the so-called party openly displays Saeed’s likeness in its election banners and literature,” the State Department pointed out.

Monday’s amendments “take aim at Lashkar-e-Taiba’s efforts to circumvent sanctions and deceive the public about its true character,” said Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism at the Department of State.

“Make no mistake: whatever LeT chooses to call itself, it remains a violent terrorist group. The United States supports all efforts to ensure that LeT does not have a political voice until it gives up violence as a tool of influence,” he added.

The designations clearly undermine MML’s effort to get itself registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan as a political party and contest the 2018 general elections. It will be difficult for the Pakistani government to ignore the designations and register MML as a political party, as it would be seen as an act of direct confrontation with the United States.

These designations “seek to deny LeT the resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks,” the State Department said in a statement issued in Washington.

Concurrently with Monday’s State Department actions, the US Department of the Treasury designated seven members of the MML central leadership body for acting on behalf of LeT: Saifullah Khalid, Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi, Muhammad Harris Dar, Tabish Qayyum, Fayyaz Ahmad, Faisal Nadeem, and Muhammad Ehsan.

Monday’s actions notify the US public and the international community that TAK and MML are aliases of LeT. Terrorism designations expose and isolate organisations and individuals and deny them access to the US financial system.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...
UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...