The United States has placed a Pakistani political group called the Milli Muslim League (MML) on its list of foreign terrorist organisations, saying it was merely an alias for a militant group blamed for a bloody 2008 attack in India.
The Milli Muslim League is controlled by Hafiz Saeed. The group shot to prominence after fielding a candidate in a September 2017 by-election to fill a seat vacated by deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is also on the U.S. terrorist list and blamed by the United States and India for Mumbai attacks in 2008. Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack.
The U.S. State Department said the Milli Muslim League alias had been added to the LeT’s designations as a terrorist group.
“These designations seek to deny LeT the resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks,” the State Department said in a statement.
“Make no mistake: whatever LeT chooses to call itself, it remains a violent terrorist group. The United States supports all efforts to ensure that LeT does not have a political voice until it gives up violence as a tool of influence,” it added.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Saeed was placed under house arrest in January 2017 but a court ordered his release in November 2017.
He was not available for comment on Tuesday.
India welcomed the U.S. decision. Pakistan had placed the LeT on a list of banned organizations in 2002. In October 2017, Pakistan’s electoral commission barred the Milli Muslim League from contesting elections, saying it had links to militant groups and could not be registered.
In March 2018 the Islamabad High Court ordered the election commission to register the party.—Reuters