New Delhi: Taking a tough action ahead of the general elections in Pakistan, the United States on Tuesday added Milli Muslim League (MML), the political front of Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of Mumbai attacks -led Jamaat-ud Dawa, in the list of the foreign terrorist organization. The US State Department also included Pakistan-based banned terrorist organization Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT) as well as Tehreek-e- Azadi-e Kashmir (TAJK) under the banner of the terrorist organization.
Ironically, this development came just as the MML was struggling to register as a political party ahead of the elections.
“The Milli Muslim League is not a recognized political party,” said US Treasury under Secretary Sigal Mandelker. “We will continue to target terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e Taiba, even when they attempt to cloak themselves as political parties or hide their extremism behind other facades.”
The US also designated seven members of the MML as foreign terrorists for acting on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba. A press statement released by the State Department dated April 2 says that the changes have been done to designate LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. The designations accorded to the Pakistan-based organizations deny the resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks.
The LeT was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group on December 26, 2001. Its leader, Saeed, is also designated as an SDGT. To avoid sanctions, LeT has repeatedly changed its name over the years, the State Department alleged.
In January 2017, LeT began operating under the name TAJK. Under this name, the LeT has engaged in inciting terrorism, as well as recruiting and fundraising. In August 2017, Saeed created the MML to serve as a political front for the group.