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Pakistan Detains LET's Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?

Pakistani media and some foreign news agencies, including the Associated Press, reported on December 8,2008, that helicopter-borne Pakistani security forces raided a camp of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) located at a place called Shawai, on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), on December 7 and detained 12 inmates of the camp, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, reportedly the operational chief of the LET.

2.Major-Gen.Athar Abbas, a spokesman of the army, while briefing the media, confirmed that the security forces had carried out ” an intelligence-led operation against a banned militant organisation and carried out several arrests” , but he did not identify the organisation as the LET. Nor did he confirm that Lakhvi was among those detained.

3. According to the Indian investigators, Lakhvi was the mastermind of the terrorist attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008. Details of the terrorist strike available so far from the Indian investigators and other sources indicate that Lakhvi planned and orchestrated the execution of the terrorist strike in the same manner that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, now facing trial in Guantanamo Bay, had orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist strikes of Al Qaeda in the US Homeland.

4.As a matter of policy, the LET never claims responsibility for any acts of terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K. Even in J&K, it claims responsibility only for attacks on the security forces and not for attacks on civilians. Its statements claiming responsibility are generally issued in the name of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who is designated as the supreme commander of the LET. Pakistani sources describe Prof.Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed as the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and Lakhvi as the Amir of the LET.

5.In an interview to “The Nation” (April 9,1999) from Muzaffarabad, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was described as the Amir of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, said: “We are extending our network in India and carried out attacks on Indian installations successfully in Himachal Pradesh last year. To set up Mujahideen networks across India is our target. We are preparing the Muslims of India against India and when they are ready, it will be the start of the disintegration of India.” Addressing a press conference at Muzaffarabad on March 2,1999, Zafar Iqbal ,the co-founder of the LET, said that the LET had invited Osama bin Laden to join the “freedom struggle” in Kashmir.He said that his organisation would welcome bin Laden if he joined its struggle against the Indian army in Kashmir. He added: “Osama is our erstwhile colleague and we had fought jointly against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. ”

6. Under US pressure following the terrorist strike on the Indian Parliament on December 13,2001, Pervez Musharraf, in a telecast to his nation on January 12,2002, announced his decision to ban the LET and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM). In pursuance of Musharraf’s telecast announcement, Lt.Gen. (retd) Moinuddin Haider, Pakistan’s then Interior Minister, issued a notification on January 15, 2002, formally banning the following five organisations under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, which was got enacted by the then Prime Minister, Mr.Nawaz Sharif, and under which Sharif himself was got prosecuted and jailed by Musharraf after capturing power on October 12, 1999: the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the Tehreek-e-Jafferia Pakistan (TJP) and the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM).The ban order was carried in the Pakistani Gazette the same day. As I had pointed out at that time, the Gazette order banned the activities of the LET only in Sindh, the Pakistani Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan. It did not ban its activities in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Northern Areas (NA) and the POK.

7. When Pakistani journalists questioned the local authorities about it, they were told that since the POK was an autonomous State, only the local Government in Muzaffarabad had the power to issue a ban order. They also said that a separate ban order in respect of the FATA and the NA would follow. No ban order was issued by the POK Government. Nor was any order issued by the Islamabad Government in respect of the FATA and the NA. Thus the legal position was that while the LET could not operate in Sindh, Punjab, the NWFP and Balochistan, it was free to operate in the POK, the NA and the FATA.The Pakistani authorities also made it clear that the LET and the EM were being banned not because of the Indian allegations of their involvement in acts of terrorism in Indian territory, including Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), but because of their suspected terrorist activities in Pakistani territory.

8. 1,957 persons belonging to the five banned organisations were detained and 615 of their offices sealed. Of them, 735 were detained and 336 offices sealed in Punjab; 852 arrested and 180 offices closed in Sindh; 337 detained and 81 offices shut in the NWFP; 15 arrested and an equal number of offices sealed in Balochistan; and 18 persons arrested and 3 offices closed in Islamabad. There was no action against their leadership, members and infrastructure in the FATA, the POK and the NA. The majority of those arrested belonged to the political and administrative cadres of these organisations. There were practically no arrests of their trained terrorists. An estimated 5,000 trained terrorists were reported to have either escaped to the FATA, the POK and the NA or gone underground in other parts of Pakistan. The trained terrorists of the LET escaped to the POK and the NA. Those of the JEM escaped to the FATA.

9. Among those arrested in Punjab was Prof-Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of of the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad (MDI), as the political wing of the LET was then known.Lakhvi was not arrested. He shifted to the POK and started operating from Shawai. At this camp, he used to train terrorists and send them into J&K and other parts of India for carrying out acts of terrorism. After some weeks, the Pakistani authorities released Sayeed and others arrested in the other provinces of Pakistan on the ground that investigations after their arrests did not find any evidence of their involvement in acts of terrorism in Pakistani territory. They rejected Indian allegations of their involvement in acts of terrorism in J&K and other parts of India. As regards their activities in J&K, they described them as part of a freedom struggle. As regards their activities in other parts of India, they asserted that India had not been able to produce any evidence in proof of its charge.

10. Sayeed re-named the MDI as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), a charity and humanitarian relief organisation, which, according to him, had nothing to do with the LET. The Pakistani media continued to identify the JUD as nothing but the LET under a different name. Thus, two organisations started operating—– the JUD headed by Sayeed in the four Pakistani provinces and the LET headed by Lakhvi in the POK and the NA. In his capacity as the Amir of the JUD, Sayeed started travelling all over Pakistan to collect funds and to set up the new network of the JUD.

11. Concerned over his activities, in 2004, the US again started pressing Musharraf to ban the JUD too and to enforce effectively the earlier ban on the LET. The renewed US pressure was due to the following reasons:

The unearthing of sleeper cells of the LET in the USA and Australia. Its role in the training of a number of Indonesians and Malaysians, including the brother of Hambali of the Jemaah Islamiyah, in one of its madrasas in Karachi. Its suspected role in training some recruits from Singapore in one of its training camps in the POK. Its assumption of the role of the co-ordinator of the International Islamic Front (IIF) formed by bin Laden in 1998. Its active role in collecting funds and recruiting volunteers for joining the jihad against the US troops in Iraq. The virulent anti-US statements in relation to Iraq issued by Prof.Sayeed. Reports circulating in Pakistan that Al Qaeda would in future be using non-Arab suicide volunteers recruited by the LET in view of the difficulties faced by the Arab members of Al Qaeda in travelling to the US and other Western countries. 12. In the wake of the renewed US pressure came a report in the reliable “Daily Times” of Lahore (July 18,2004) claiming that following personal differences with Sayeed over his marrying a 28-year-old widow, whose husband was killed in J&K, some members of the LET had broken their links with the JUD and formed a new organisation called the Khirun Naas meaning “the Welfare of the Masses.”The “Daily Times” reported as follows: “The Khairun Naas was established with the support of most of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and a majority within the party. The KN’s leadership consists mostly of LET commanders including Lakhvi, JD Lahore head Abu Shoiab, Punjab head Abu Naser Javed, Abdul Qadir and Saifullah Mansoor. Prof Iqbal (Zafar Iqbal), publications chief Ameer Hamza, and JD seminaries head Maulana Abdul Sallam Bhatvi are also supporting them.According to sources, Prof Iqbal is currently in Saudi Arabia seeking the support of Saudi clerics and the party’s structure will be announced when he returns, probably with him at the top. Khairun Naas and Lashkar-e-Toiba are basically the same, but the LET is banned in Pakistan so we adopted the name Khairun Naas,” a member of the new party said. The sources said that the KN’s claim to the LET centre at Muridke was strong because of Mr Lakhvi. Mr Lakhvi had close ties with the Arab Mujahideen and his sister was married to an Arab, Abdul Rehman Sherahi. It was Mr Sherahi who purchased the land on which the (Muridke) centre is built and gifted it to the JD. Mr Sherahi was arrested in Renala Khurd two years ago for connections with Al Qaeda. No one can claim the Muridke Markaz except Lakhvi, because it was established by his efforts,” an aide of his said, ” the “Daily Times reported. (My comment: According to reliable sources, the land at Muridke was actually given free of charge to the MDI by the late Zia-ul-Haq. The money for the construction of the centre was given by bin Laden and Sherahi. The Muridke centre used to have a guest house constructed for use by bin Laden during his visits to Muridke before 1992 ) 13. A similar report was also carried by the “Herald”, the monthly of the “Dawn” group of publications. The “Herald” report identified Iqbal as the head of the KN. He and Sayeed had jointly founded the MDI and the LET. Following this split, Maulana Ibrahim Salafi, a 56-year-old senior leader of the JUD, was shot dead in Lahore by unidentified persons on September 12, 2004. This gave rise to fears of a violent clash between the two groups. It was reported that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden, sent for the representatives of the two groups and made them forget their differences and operate unitedly once again under the leadership of Sayeed.

14. While the JUD, the LET and the KN projected themselves as different organisations with no links to each other, sections of the Pakistani media and American experts treated all the three as one and the same.On April 27,2006,the US State Department issued Executive Order 13224 designating the JUD as a terrorist organisation and blocking property and interests in property, of the JUD and another linked organzation, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, that are in the United States or the under the control of U.S. persons. Earlier, in December 2001, the US had designated the LET as a terrorist organisation, but its attempt to persuade the monitoring committee of the UN Security Council to similarly designate the LET could not succeed till May 2,2005. During this period, Pakistan was a member of the monitoring committee, which monitors the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 against terrorism passed immediately after 9/11. All members of the UN Security Council are members of this monitoring committee, which acts on the basis of consensus. Pakistan has till now resisted US pressure to ban the JUD as a terrorist organisation. It continues to assert that the JUD is a charity-cum-humanitarian relief organisation and has nothing to do with the LET.

15. A Pakistani Government spokesperson said on May 3,2006: “The Government has no intention of designating the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its affiliate organisation as terrorist entities as done by the US. However, Pakistan would be legally bound to take action if they were placed on United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list.The US had approached the UNSC for designation of the organisations as terrorist outfits and for putting them on the committee’s list. We do not put any of our entities on the terrorist list if the action is taken under the US domestic law.”Chinese support to the Pakistani contention that the JUD is not a terrorist organisation and has no links with the LET has come in the way of the monitoring committee including the JUD in its list of terrorist organisations.

16. A press release of the U.S. Department of Treasury issued on May 27,2008, designated Sayeed, Lakhvi and two other office-bearers of the LET as terrorists and highlighted their links with Al Qaeda. A copy of the press release is annexed. On August 14, 2008, Pakistan’s Independence Day, the JUD held a conference in Lahore, called the “Defend Pakistan Conference.”The conference opened with the singing by one Hafiz Abdul Wadud Hasan and Hafiz Abdur Rauf of what was described as the Jihadi National Anthem. The conference directed that in future this Anthem will be taught and sung in all training centres and madrasas controlled by the LET. The text of the Anthem is also annexed.

17. The reported arrest of Lakhvi, if confirmed, speaks of the intense pressure on Pakistan from the US to act against the LET. India, the US and the rest of the international community should ensure that this is not a cosmetic step like similar steps in 2002 and that the LET infrastructure in Pakistan is dismantled and those involved in the Mumbai terrorist strike against Indians, Israelis, Americans and others are brought to justice.

(The writer, Mr B.Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

ANNEXURE I ( Press Release dated May 27,2008, of the US Treasury Department)

“LET is a dangerous al Qaida affiliate that has demonstrated its willingness to murder innocent civilians,” said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). “LET’s transnational nature makes it crucial for governments worldwide to do all they can to stifle LET’s fundraising and operations.”

LET has conducted numerous attacks against Indian military and civilian targets since 1993. The Government of India implicated LET in the July 2006 attack on multiple Mumbai commuter trains, and in the December 2001 attack against the Indian Parliament. LET is also suspected of involvement in attacks in New Delhi in October 2005, and in Bangalore in December 2005. In March 2002, senior al Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LET safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

LET arose in the early 1990s as the armed wing of the Sunni missionary movement Markaz-ud Dawa-wal-Irshad. Despite being banned by the Government of Pakistan in January 2002, LET continues to operate in Kashmir and engage in or support terrorist activities worldwide. LET was designated pursuant to U.S. Executive Order 13224 on December 20, 2001, and under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 2, 2005. The U.S. Department of State named LET a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on December 26, 2001.

Today’s action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Any assets these designees have under U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the designees.Identifying Information

Muhammad Saeed AKAs: Hafiz Muhammad Saeed Hafiz Saeed Hafiz Sahib Hafiz Mohammad Saeed Hafez Mohammad Sayeed Hafiz Mohammad Sayid Hafiz Mohammad Syeed Tata Ji Hafiz Mohammad Sayed Address: House No. 116E, Mohalla Johar, Town: Lahore, Tehsil Lahore City, Lahore District, Pakistan DOB: 5 June 1950 POB: Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan Father’s Name: Kamal-ud-Din National ID#: 3520025509842-7

Muhammad Saeed is LET’s overall leader and chief and plays a key role in LET’s operational and fundraising activities worldwide. Saeed oversaw the management of a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2006, including funding of the camp, which prepared militants to fight against Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Saeed, in 2005, determined where graduates of an LET camp in Pakistan should be sent to fight, and personally organized the infiltration of LET militants into Iraq during a trip to Saudi Arabia. That same year, Saeed arranged for an LET operative to be sent to Europe as LET’s European fundraising coordinator.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi

AKAs: Zakir Rehman Lakvi Zaki Ur-Rehman Lakvi Zaki Ur-Rehman Zakir Rehman Abu Waheed Irshad Ahmad Arshad Chachajee Address 1: Barahkoh, P.O. DO, Tehsil and District Islamabad, Pakistan Address 2: Chak No. 18/IL, Rinala Khurd, Tehsil Rinala Khurd, District Okara, Pakistan DOB: 30 December 1960 POB: Okara, Pakistan Father’s Name: Hafiz Aziz-ur-Rehman National ID#: 61101-9618232-1

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is LET’s chief of operations. In this capacity, Lakhvi has directed LET military operations, including in Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq, and Southeast Asia. Lakhvi instructed LET associates in 2006 to train operatives for suicide bombings. Prior to that, Lakhvi instructed LET operatives to conduct attacks in well-populated areas.

Lakhvi, in 2004, sent operatives and funds to attack U.S. forces in Iraq. Lakhvi also directed an LET operative to travel to Iraq in 2003 to assess the jihad situation there.

In past years, Lakhvi has also played an important role in LET fundraising activities, reportedly receiving al Qaida-affiliated donations on behalf of LET.

Haji Muhammad Ashraf

AKA: Haji M. Ashraf DOB: 1 March 1965 PPN: A-374184, Pakistani

Haji Muhammad Ashraf is LET’s chief of finance, a position he has held since at least 2003. Ashraf traveled to the Middle East in 2003 and 2004, where he personally collected donations on behalf of LET. Ashraf assisted Saudi Arabia-based LET leadership in 2003 with expanding its organization and increasing its fundraising activities.

Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq

AKAs: Mahmoud Bahaziq Abu `Abd al-‘Aziz Abu Abdul Aziz Shaykh Sahib DOB: 17 August 1943 Alt DOB: 1943 Alt DOB: 1944 POB: India Nationality: Saudi Arabian Saudi Registration Number: 4-6032-0048-1

Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq is an LET financier and is credited with being the main financier behind the establishment of the LET and its activities in the 1980s and 1990s. He has also served as the leader of LET in Saudi Arabia. In 2003, Bahaziq coordinated LET’s fundraising activities with Saudi nongovernmental organizations and Saudi businessmen, and encouraged LET operatives to continue and accelerate fundraising and organizing activities. As of mid-2005, Bahaziq played a key role in LET’s propaganda and media operations.

My comment: At the annual conferences of the LET, Abu Abdul Aziz used to be introduced as a Saudi national of Indian origin, who had played a legendary role in the jihad against the Serbs in Bosnia in the 1990s.

ANNEXURE II ( The “Jihadi Anthem ” of the LET)

“Jihad will continue till the Day of Judgement; jihad will never stop.

(Jihad jari rahega ta qayamat Jihad hargiz naheen rukega)

It has forced oppressor’s head to bow; it will end oppression and torture.

(Is se zalim ka sar jhuka hai Is se zulm-o-sitam mitega)

Jihad is the order of Allah; jihad is the path of the Prophet.

(Jihad farman hai Khuda ka Jihad rasta hai Mustafa ka)

Jihad is the assurance of loyalty; every true Muslim will be loyal.

(Jihad paiman hai wafa ka Her ek momin wafa karega)

Jihad is mentioned in the Koran; jihad is the eternity of faith.

(Jihad Qur’an mein likha hai Jihad Eiman ki baqaa hai)

This is the Will [of God], this is [His] happiness; no one can change it.

(Yahi masheeat, yahi raza hai Jise na koi badal saekga)

Only Jihad has always cut the head of evil from the earth

(Zameen se fitno ka sar hamesha Jihad hi se qalam huwa hai)

If jihad has the power in it; mischief will have no substance.

(Rahega dam kham jihad mein to Fasad mein dam naheen rahega)

Jihad alone gives voice; respect comes to the helpless.

(Jihad hi se zaban milti Hai aan milti hai bekason ko)

Jihad will make the gods of falsehood naked.

(Jihad jhooti khudaion ko Ulat kar be abroo karega)

Avoidance of jihad has given birth to subjugation.

(Jihad se ijtniab hi ne Ghulamion ko janam diya hai)

Enemies of Jihad will be dishonoured; they will sink into an unending abyss.

(Jihad dushman zaleel hoker Athaah pasti mein ja girega)

Jihad is the protection of the Ummah; jihad is the symbol of self-respect.

(Jihad millat ki pasbani Jihad ghairat ki hai nishani)

Jihad is a Revealed gift; only the lucky ones will get it.

(Jihad tuhfa hai aasmani Naseeb walon ko hi milega)

Jihad destroys terror; jihad brings good news.

(Jihad dehshat mitane walaa Jihad muzde sunane walaa)

Jihad teaches how to live; only those will live who learn to die.

(Jihad jeena sikhane walaa Jo marna seekhega wo jiyegaa)

Jihad is the state of ecstasy; jihad is the army of the brave.

(Jihad alam hai bekhudi ka Jihad Lashkar bahaduri ka)

Jihad is the flag of truth; Never has it bowed, nor will it bow.

(Jihad parcham hai rasti ka Kabhi jhuka, na kabhi jhukega)

Jihad is the kingdom of faith; jihad is the depth of emotions.

(Jihad eiman ki hai shahi Jihad jazbon ki hai bepanahi)

Jihad is the destruction of heretics; those who fight against it will die.

(Jihad alhad ki tabahi Ise mitayega jo mitega)

Jihad is to stand for truth; not go back once you have taken the step.

(Jihad Afazan haq per hai datna Qadam barhaker ne peechhe hanta)

Jihad is the Eagle’s attack; falsehood will be victim.

(Jihad shaheen ka jhapatna Shikar batil bana rahega)”

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