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US amends Lashkar listing to include aliases, designates seven others as terrorists

  In yet another act to curb terrorism, the US State Department has amended the "designation" of Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba to include its aliases so that the entire network falls within the ambit of American sanctions.

A press release from the US State Department said, "The Department of State has amended the designation of Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) to include the aliases Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e- Azadi-e Kashmir (TAJK). The aliases have been added to LeT's designations 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 modus operandi of these terror organisations is to change their names every time an organisation is put under international sanction. LeT, is an organisation that operates from Pakistan and directs its attacks against India. Its chief Hafiz Saeed, a globally designated terrorist, is yet to be brought to book by Pakistan.

According to the press release, apart from amending the list, seven other individuals have also been "designated" terrorists. "Concurrently with today's State Department actions, the US Department of the Treasury designated seven members of the MML central leadership body for acting for on behalf of LeT: Saifullah Khalid, Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi, Muhammad Harris Dar, Tabish Qayyuum, Fayyaz Ahmad, Faisal Nadeem, and Muhammad Ehsan", the statement said.

Terrorism designations "expose" and "isolate" organisations and individuals, and "deny" them access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments.

Efforts are made to improve the counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the US wherein these designations "seek to deny LeT the resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks."

According to the statement, "Among other consequences of the designations, LeT's property and interests in property subject to the US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group."

Hafiz Saeed has changed the name of his organisation from LeT to a so-called 'philanthropic' organisation Jammat-ud-Dawaa till it was banned and they had to come up with another name called Falah-e-Insaniat. According to US findings, to avoid sanctions, LeT has repeatedly changed its name over the years. In January 2017, LeT began operating under the name Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir. LeT has engaged in terrorist activities under this name, including inciting terrorism, as well as recruiting and fundraising.

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.

Explaining the reasons for constant updating of the listing, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism at the Department of State, noted that it has to be done so that these organisations do not "circumvent" the sanctions and "deceive" the public.

"Today's amendments take aim at Lashkar e-Taiba's efforts to circumvent sanctions and deceive the public about its true character. 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 said.

Formed in the 1980s, LeT was responsible for the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that killed 166 people, including six Americans, and has killed dozens of Indian security forces and civilians in recent years. LeT continues to operate freely within Pakistan, holding public rallies, raising funds, and plotting and training for terrorist attacks.
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