UPDATED ON:
Friday, December 12, 2008
09:26 Mecca time, 06:26 GMT      
News CENTRAL/S. ASIA
Pakistan bans 'Mumbai-linked' group
Jamaat-ud-Dawa is one of Pakistan's biggest charities and operates a number of 
schools [AFP]

Pakistani authorities have moved to close down the offices of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a 
charity run by the founder of the group India has blamed for last month's 
attacks on Mumbai in which more than 170 people died. 

Analysts and diplomats have suggested that the charity is being used as a front 
for Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"The government has decided to proscribe Jamaat-ud-Dawa," Sherry Rehman, 
Pakistan's information minister, said on Thursday.

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who officially quit the Lashkar leadership in 2001 to 
become the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was put under house arrest in eastern 
Pakistan for three months, Pervez Rathor, Lahore's police chief, said.

"We have taken action in response to orders from the federal government," he 
said.

Eight other officials from the charity are to be arrested, a government 
spokesman said.

Offices closed

The assets of the charity, Saeed and the eight other leaders will be frozen and 
their names will also be placed on the exit control list to prevent them from 
leaving the country, a senior government official said.

Police sealed the charity's offices in Karachi and Hyderabad and television 
reports said the charity would be banned, though no official announcement had 
yet been made as yet.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is one of Pakistan's biggest charities and is known across the 
country for its earthquake relief work. It was among the first to deliver aid 
to the victims of the huge 2005 earthquake in Kashmir.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said that the arrest had 
already provoked an outcry in some circles.

"Hafiz Saeed is respected here because of the work he and his men performed in 
the aftermath of the earthquake in Kashmir [and consequently] the move to put 
him under arrest has already been condemned by the religious parties within the 
country," he said.

"They have been warning that the government may be acting too fast just on the 
basis of insinuations from India."

Jamaat-ud-Dawa also operates hospitals, schools and relief centres across 
Pakistan.

But it has been accused of being the political wing of Lashkar and on Wednesday 
the UN Security Council listed Jamaat-ud-Dawa as one of a number of covers used 
by Lashkar, and categorised it as a "terrorist" organisation.

'Epicentre of terrorism'

In India, Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, said Pakistan's efforts to 
crack down on those allegedly behind the Mumbai attacks had not been enough.

Singh was speaking to parliament before the lower house passed a largely 
symbolic resolution condemning the Mumbai attacks and pledging to find those 
responsible,

Saeed quit the Lashkar leadership in 2001 to become the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa 
[AFP]
"We have to galvanise the international community into dealing sternly and 
effectively with the epicentre of terrorism, which is located in Pakistan," he 
said, prior to Saeed's house arrest.

"The infrastructure of terrorism has to be dismantled permanently."

Pakistan has denied any state involvement in last month's attacks.

Indian officials have demanded that Pakistan hand over 20 suspected fighter and 
others it wants for past attacks.

Analysts warn that Pakistan's intelligence agency has ties to some of those 
India wants and that the civilian government in Islamabad risks political 
fallout if it acts against them.

Keeping up the pressure on Pakistan, John Negroponte, the US deputy secretary 
of state, arrived in Islamabad on Thursday.

Washington has engaged in intensive diplomacy to stop tensions mounting between 
Pakistan and India, and to keep press Islamabad on its battle against the 
Taliban and al-Qaeda.
 Source:     Al Jazeera and agencies
    


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