Jamat-ud-Dawah Denies Lashkar Link, Says Will Challenge Ban

11 December 2008
The Hindu

Islamabad: The Pakistan-based Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD), which has been branded a terrorist group by the UN, is writing to the global body to clarify that it has no links with terrorism and the Pakistani government began investigations against it only on the basis of 'Indian propaganda', its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said. Acceding to Indian and US requests in the aftermath of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks, the UN Security Council Wednesday declared JuD, the front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist group. Four top LeT leaders, including Saeed, have also been branded global terrorists. However, BBC Urdu website quoted Saeed as saying in an interview that he never headed the LeT. He added that although he was once arrested by the government, he was let off after JuD proved that he had nothing to do with the LeT. The other LeT leaders whom the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee has branded global terrorists are Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Haji Muhammad Ashraf and Mahmood Muhammad Ahmed. While insisting that none of the 'LeT office holders are members of JuD', Saeed said: 'India has failed to provide any evidence of LeT involvement in the Mumbai attacks.' Asked about LeT offices and camps in Pakistan, Saeed said all LeT offices were closed in 2002 after the ban on the organisation. 'Presently, there are no offices or camps (of LeT) in Pakistan,' he said. He said India was pressurising Pakistan through propaganda, adding: 'The Pakistani government should investigate the allegations and clear the situation. LeT has already denied all the allegations.' Saeed said that previously India was accusing LeT of the Mumbai attacks but this week its envoy in the UN demanded restrictions on JuD. He demanded that Indian authorities provide evidence of the involvement of either of the two groups in the Mumbai attacks, which left over 170 people dead. Declaring that the JuD will challenge the sanctions imposed on it in all forums, Saeed said his group will write to the UN explaining that it has no involvement in any terrorist activity. When asked what he would do if India presented any evidence against JuD, Saeed said in that case his group will abide by the decision of the government of Pakistan. He said all JuD offices in Pakistani Kashmir and other parts of the country were working as usual and the recent raids in Kashmir were on LeT. 'Pakistan army and security agencies are conducting these raids and they are in a better position to tell you against whom they are taking these actions,' he added. When asked about media reports that one of the Mumbai attackers had visited the JuD office in Muridke, Saeed said he had never met him. 'I have seen a media report that I met him for the first time in Dubai whereas I have never been to Dubai,' he added.