October 2001 News

Pak. to look into Jaish bank accounts

13 October 2001
The Hindu
B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD: The decision of the United States to freeze the assets of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) would not affect the ongoing ''freedom struggle'' in Jammu and Kashmir The struggle is indigenous and not dependent on any country or group ''The freedom struggle will continue unabated and will intensify if the Indian repression goes up,'' the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office, Mr Riaz Mohammad Khan, said here today . Mr. Khan said Pakistan would ask its public and private banks to look into the accounts of the JeM and the three other entities whose accounts had been frozen by the U.S. and the U.K. on suspicion of links with the Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. However, he was quick to point out that Pakistan was not going into the merits of the decision of the American and British Governments to put these groups on the terrorist watchlist. The spokesman said that when the Bush administration released an initial list of 27 individuals and organisations asking that their funds be blocked on suspicion of links with terrorism- related activities, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) directed all banks to look into their accounts. Pakistan had sought details of the reasons that prompted the U.S. to freeze the assets of at least one Pakistani non-governmental organisation, the Al-Rashid Trust. ''We have received some details and are awaiting more,'' he said to a question if Islamabad was satisfied with Washington''s reply. Implied in his statements is the assertion that Pakistan would not be guided by Washington''s judgment in characterising those individuals and outfits who have come under scrutiny for alleged links with Al-Qaeda. He was at pains to emphasise that the SBP was duty-bound to act on the U.S. and U.K. decisions as otherwise the operations of Pakistani banks in America and Europe would be affected. ''We are looking into the fine-print about the decision of the U.S. and U.K. Governments. We have received some details about the decision from our embassies. We have learnt about at least one Pakistan-based trust named by the U.S. for the first time and there is a need to look closer,'' he said in response to a barrage of questions. Asked if the U.S. had taken the Musharraf Government into confidence before putting certain individuals and organisations either on the terrorist watchlist or before freezing their assets, Mr. Khan said Pakistan was not part of the military campaign led by that country. ''Neither the U.S. is obliged to share the information on its campaign nor are we interested.'' He reiterated that the cooperation extended by Pakistan was limited to information and intelligence sharing, allowing the use of airspace and logistical support. ''Let me repeat, neither are there any U.S. troops nor are U.S. military operations being conducted from Pakistani soil.'' In a related development, an unnamed Jaish activist has been quoted by a news agency as saying that the decision of the U.S. and U.K. Governments would not affect the organisation''s activities. In Karachi, police have reportedly arrested a senior Jaish leader for public display of weapons at a rally to oppose the U.S. action against Afghanistan.


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