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Tuesday Apr 03 2018
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Pakistan does not support Haqqani Network, says Nacta chief

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's counter-terrorism chief Ihsan Ghani said on Tuesday that Islamabad does not support Haqqani Network or any terrorist organisation.

"After Radd-ul-Fasaad and all the military operations, we can say this for sure that neither there exists any such organisation on Pakistani soil, nor does Pakistan support them," said Ghani, national coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), while speaking to Geo News during a seminar organised here.

Earlier in March, Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Islamabad has rid its soil of all terrorist sanctuaries, including those of Haqqani Network, through a well-thought-out military campaign.

Ghafoor told Gulf News that Pakistan has taken action against terrorists of all shades and kinds, including the Haqqani Network, which was also the main concern for the United States.

In response to a question about Jamaat-ud-Dawa's political offshoot Milli Muslim League (MML), which the United States recently designated as a terrorist organisation, he said: "There exist two opinions with regard to such organisations.

"One is that these organisations should be brought into the [national] mainstream, other one is that these are terrorist organisations and if they came into politics, they would intimidate the voters and candidates would not get a chance to freely participate in elections," he said.

Ghani said that "now we have to very carefully tread this; there are international laws, UN regulations; we have to keep them in view.

"If we understand that it is in our favour to mainstream these organisations, then we should apprise these [world] powers of it, convince them, and tell them this is in our favour and that would harm us," the top official said.

Earlier on Monday, the US said it had added the MML and Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK) to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO), reasoning that both were fronts for banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"The aliases [MML and TAJK] have been added to LeT’s designations as an FTO under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224," the US State Department said on its website.

In a statement, Ambassador Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism at the department, explained that the Monday's revisions "show that the US government is not fooled by Lashkar-e-Taiba’s efforts to circumvent sanctions and deceive the public about its true character."

MML's emergence

The MML was formed last year and made an impressive show at the NA-120 by-election in Lahore, where its supported candidate gained the fourth place. Candidates backed by the party — since it is yet to be registered as a political party — have made similar gains in subsequent by-elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

At present, the MML is struggling to get itself registered as a political party.

On Monday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directed the party to first obtain a security clearance certificate from the Interior Ministry after which the matter will proceed further.

The commission had earlier rejected the party's plea to get registered on the ground that its supremo, Hafiz Saeed, is a globally listed terrorist whereas organisations run under his influence, Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, were designated as banned organisations via a presidential ordinance.

That decision of the ECP was overturned by the Islamabad High Court which directed it to hear the party's plea properly and then decide the case.

Moreover, Saeed has challenged in the Lahore High Court the government's action against his charitable organisation.

Prior designations by US

Early February, the US had named three Pakistanis as key "terrorist facilitators", saying they worked closely with a well-known backer of Al-Qaeda, LeT, and the Taliban leader known as Shaykh Aminullah.

The Treasury Department placed Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan, and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan on its SDGT blacklist "in an effort to disrupt the group's ability to obtain and distribute financing".

All three were tied to Shaykh Aminullah, who has been on international terror blacklists since 2009, as per US officials, who allege that Aminullah turned the Ganj seminary — a boys school in Peshawar — into a training and recruiting base by the Taliban, LeT, and Al-Qaeda.

The three men were involved in providing financial and logistical support, explosives, and technological aid to the three Pakistan- and Afghanistan-based extremist groups, it said.

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