Islamabad, Nov. 15 (Reuters): Pakistan, a staunch ally in the US-declared war on terror, slapped a new ban today on three outlawed Islamic militant organisations which had regrouped under new names.
The ban came two days after the US ambassador to Pakistan voiced concerns over the re-emergence of the militant groups. “No militant or sectarian organisation will be allowed to function in Pakistan,” said an official statement reported by state-run APP news agency.
The decision to ban the three — a militant group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir and two organisations involved in domestic sectarian violence — came at a meeting attended by President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali. The statement said the new ban was imposed on these organisations “for flouting the earlier ban order”.
Last year, Musharraf banned five militant groups including Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, after the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 and an assault on the Indian parliament. The new orders banned Khudam-ul Islam, formerly Jaish-e-Mohammad, and outlawed Sunni group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and rival Shia outfit Tehrik-e-Jafria Pakistan which have also regrouped under new names.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa, formed shortly before the banning of Lashkar-e-Toiba, has been put on the “watch list” of the country’s militant groups.
Shortly after the decision, police sealed several offices of Khudam-ul Islam in Karachi which has seen a string of attacks by suspected Islamic militants over the past two years.
Group officials said police had also raided the house of their leader Maulana Masood Azhar in Bahawalpur city, in central Punjab province. Masood was one of the three men released from an Indian prison in a barter deal with New Delhi after an Indian airliner was hijacked in late 1999 and flown to Kandahar in Afghanistan.