The United States on Monday named seven Pakistani nationals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, saying they were acting on behalf of the militant Islamist group that carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks and have been blamed for instigating ongoing violence in Indian Kashmir.
The U.S. government also identified Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir as aliases for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which it listed as a foreign terrorist organization in 2001.
All seven “global terrorists” are officials of the Milli Muslim League, which introduced itself as a political party at a press conference in Islamabad in August 2017, according to statements issued by the U.S. Department of State and Department of the Treasury.
The LeT has been using aliases and front groups to circumvent sanctions and deceive the public about “its true character,” U.S. officials said.
“Make no mistake: whatever LeT chooses to call itself, it remains a violent terrorist group,” Nathan Sales, a top counterterrorism official, said in a statement released by the U.S. State Department.
“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.”
LeT is best known for carrying out the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Indian authorities also say LeT is one of several Pakistan-based groups operating in insurgency-torn Indian Kashmir, where weekend violence left at least 20 dead and 200 injured.
The seven Muslim Milli League officials accused of acting on behalf of LeT were Saifullah Khalid, Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi, Muhammad Harris Dar, Tabish Qayyum, Fayyaz Ahmad, Faisal Nadeem and Muhammad Ehsan.
“Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and other governments,” the U.S. government statement said.
In August 2016, the United States added Hizbul Mujahideen, the oldest and largest rebel outfit fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, to its list of global terror organizations – a move slammed by separatists in the region who termed the group a “decades-old indigenous freedom movement.”
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