Designate Lashkar, Jaish as terrorist outfits: Ashcroft
2 November 2001
WASHINGTON: In a significant move, the US Justice Department has asked the State Department to designate the Pakistan-based militant outfits, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad, as foreign terrorist organisations . The U.S. Attorney-General, Mr. John Ashcroft, in a letter to the Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, has asked for the designation of 46 organisations under the new Anti- Terrorism Law. All the groups, he said, had committed or planned terrorist acts, or served as fronts for terrorist organisations. New Delhi has been pressing Washington for quite some time to target outfits like the Lashkar for its violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The JeM was identified in a Joint Treasury and State Department list of October 12 as a terrorist outfit. Among other things, its assets were frozen. The 46 organisations which the Attorney-General wanted designated formally as terrorist have been identified from three sources; the U.S. President''s executive order of September 23; the Joint Treasury Department and State Department List of October 12; and the State Department''s Patterns of Global Terrorism which lists in its annexe, the names of other terrorist groups which have not been formally designated. The Lashkar has been drawn from this category. The Attorney-General''s memorandum to the Secretary of State is only a ''request,'' and not an ''order.'' The process of formal designation of the terror outfits will begin at the State Department. Given the kind of environment that exists in the U.S. against terrorism, it is unlikely that the Secretary of State will think differently from the Attorney-General. A formal designation of the Lashkar and the JeM by the State Department as terrorist organisations will undoubtedly have an impact not only on the outfits themselves but also on their benefactors. Besides a financial freeze, a number of legal restrictions will be in place for members of the outfits and their supporters.