Kashmir Rebels Slam UN, Pakistan Over Charity Crackdown

12 December 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: A powerful militant alliance fighting an insurgency in Indian Kashmir Friday condemned a move by the UN Security Council to list a Pakistani charity as a terrorist organisation. On Wednesday the UN declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa a front for the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Kashmiri militant group that India blames for the Mumbai attacks. 'The UN Security Council acted in a haste,' said the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council (UJC) in a statement published in local papers in Indian-administered Kashmir. The UJC also criticised Islamabad for arresting leaders and members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, one of Pakistan's biggest charities and known in Kashmir for its relief work after a devastating 2005 earthquake. 'The Jamaat is a social organisation and did a commendable job to rehabilitate the earthquake victims,' the UJC said. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is widely viewed as the political arm of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The statement came as Pakistani police on Friday extended their crackdown on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, arresting dozens more members, Pakistani officials said. Islamabad has been shutting down Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices, placing its leaders under house arrest and freezing its assets. Pakistan has come under heavy US, Indian and other international pressure to deal with militants on its soil while India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the country the 'epicentre of terrorism'. The UJC 'members express concern over the arrest of Dawa leaders and demand their immediate release,' said the group, terming the crackdown 'unwarranted'. The statement said none of the Kashmiri groups was involved in the Mumbai attacks which killed 172 people including nine gunmen, and that 'India has not been able to provide evidence'. It also said that Pakistan's government 'should have acted in a more responsible manner rather than succumbing to Indian pressure'. The UJC leads a bloody insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir that since its eruption in 1989 has left more than 47,000 people dead by an Indian government count.