India hails US move to designate Hafiz Saeed's party as a front of terror group LeT

India hails US move to designate Hafiz Saeed's party as a front of terror group LeT

India on Tuesday hailed United States' move to identify radical Pakistani cleric Hafiz Saeed's newly launched political party Milli Muslim League as a front of the proscribed terror organization Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi stated that the US State Department's move vindicated India's position that Pakistan had not taken effective action against terrorist groups and individuals.

"It is also cognizance of the fact that terrorist individuals and entities are allowed to change names and continue to operate freely from territory under control of Pakistan," Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of the MEA, said.

The US state department had designated the LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in December 2001.

Its founder Hafiz Saeed had also been identified as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US government in May 2008, just a few months before the LeT terrorists carried out the November 26-28, 2008 terror strikes in Mumbai, killing over 170 people and injuring many others.

The LeT changed its name repeatedly over the years and created new fronts to aver US sanctions.

The American government's state department on Monday included the Milli Muslim League as one of the aliases of the LeT, thus bringing Saeed's newly-launched political entity under the US sanctions.

Saeed and his Jamat-ud-Dawa, a front of the LeT, announced in August 2017 that a new political party- Milli Muslim League (MML).

The election commission of Pakistan turned down the MML's plea for registration as a political party in October 2017.

The Islamabad high court on March 8, 2017 set aside the decision by the election commission of Pakistan.

New Delhi noted that the designation of MML as an alias of the LeT by the US was "a rejection of the attempts being made to mainstream terrorist individuals and entities in Pakistan".

Kumar said that it also highlighted Pakistan's failure to fulfill its international obligation to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries, and disrupt terror financing.

Washington's move to bring the MML under sanctions came just a few days after the officials of India and the US held the 15th meeting of Counter-Terrorism Joint Working Group in New Delhi on March 27.

The Indian and US officials discussed coordinated efforts to ensure effective implementation of domestic and international terrorist designations.

Saeed is suspected to be the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The US declared a bounty of $10 million on the radical cleric in April 2012.

He was also designated as a terrorist by the United Nations in December 2008 and brought under international sanctions.

He was placed under house arrest in Pakistan several times in the past- in December 2001 after the terror attack on Parliament of India in New Delhi, in July 2006 after explosions on trains in Mumbai and in December 2008 after the LeT attacks in Mumbai.

He was also placed under house arrest in February 2017.

However, every time he would be released just a few weeks or months after the house arrest.

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