Jamat-ud-Dawah, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman, Haji Ashraf added to UN terror list
A UN Security Council panel declared Wednesday that a Pakistan-based charity is a front group for the terrorist organization blamed in the attacks on Mumbai that killed 171 people. In a move sought by India and the US, the panel said the charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and now subject to UN sanctions on terrorist organizations. It also approved the designation of four suspected plotters of the Mumbai attacks as terrorists subject to sanctions. The UN identified all four individuals as leaders of Lashkar. They include Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, operations chief and the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai siege whose arrest was announced Wednesday. The others are Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the leader of the charity; Haji Muhammad Ashraf, Lashkar's chief of finance; and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a financier with Lashkar. Among the sanctions imposed on the group and the four individuals by the Security Council's al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee were an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on the individuals. The panel is authorized to make such decisions on behalf of the Security Council. India had pressed the Security Council for sanctions against the charity on Tuesday, contending along with the US that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar. Since 2005, that sanctions committee -- a powerful tool of the UN's powerhouse 15-nation Security Council -- has considered Lashkar to be a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaida. The US and European Union also have sanctioned the group. By agreeing that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is essentially an alias for Lashkar, the UN panel has significantly added to India's pressure for Pakistan's civilian government to prove that it is cracking down on militant groups and pursuing extremists blamed for last month's siege of India's commercial capital. Lakhvi was detained during a raid Sunday in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, the mountainous region claimed by both nations that has been a focus of two of their three wars since 1947. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday that Pakistani authorities also had detained Zarrar Shah, an alleged leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistani officials, however, say India has not shared evidence from its investigation of the attack, in another manifestation of the deep mistrust between the nuclear-armed neighbors that the US has been struggling to prevent from becoming a bigger crisis. Jamaat-ud-Dawa emerged after Pakistan's government banned Lashkar in 2002, following US pressure. The group, which has denied any links to Lashkar, runs a chain of schools and medical clinics and has helped survivors of two deadly earthquakes in recent years. The charity's leader, Saeed, repeated his group's denial of links to Lashkar. ''No Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba,'' he told a private TV Wednesday. US officials contend that Saeed, one of the suspected Lashkar leaders detained and released in 2002, is still the overall leader of Lashkar. American authorities believe that these ''high-priority designations ... will limit the ability of known terrorists to travel, acquire weapons, plan, carry out, or raise funds for new terrorist attacks,'' the US State Department said . The UN sanctions panel also described a number of trusts and foundations as aliases for the al-Rashid and al-Akhtar trusts, which have raised funds for Lashkar. According to the panel, the al-Rashid Trust can be equated with the al-Amin Welfare Trust, al-Amin Trust, al-Ameen Trust, al-Ameen Trust, al-Madina Trust and al-Madina Trust. The al-Akhtar Trust aliases, the panel said, are Pakistan Relief Foundation, Pakistani Relief Foundation, Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust and Azmat Pakistan Trust. Lashkar is widely believed to have been created with the help of Pakistan's military and intelligence services as a proxy fighting force in India's part of Kashmir, where Muslim separatists have engaged in a long insurgency. On Tuesday, E. Ahamed, India's junior foreign minister, urged the Security Council to ban Jamaat-ud-Dawa as ''a terrorist outfit'' and called on Pakistan during a council debate on counterterrorism to take ''urgent steps to stop their functioning.'' Pakistani Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon responded that his country's intelligence and police agencies already were investigating Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other groups and may impose punitive measures, including a freeze on their financial assets.