US slaps sanctions on LeT founding leaders
Washington: The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on two founding leaders of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba for fund raising, recruitment and indoctrination of operatives.
The US Treasury Department named Zafar Iqbal and Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, top LeT leaders and founding members of the group which is a front for banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa. "Over the past 20 years, Iqbal and Bhuttavi have been responsible for fund raising, recruitment and indoctrination of operatives.
By targeting the core of LeT's leadership, today's action aims to degrade its ability to facilitate its terrorist activities," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen said.
LeT has links with the al Qaeda network and is blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and July 2006 Mumbai train bombings. It was designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2001, and was added to the UN sanctions list in May 2005.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) was designated as an alias of LeT in April 2006 and was added to the UN sanctions list as an alias of LeT in December 2008.
The Treasury said Iqbal is a senior leader and co-founder of LeT, has served in various LeT/JUD senior leadership positions and was once considered LeT/JUD's second-in-command.
As of late 2010, Iqbal was in-charge of LET/JUD's finance department. Iqbal has also been involved in LET/JUD fund raising activities.
As of 2008, Iqbal was identified as LeT/JUD's chief of fundraising, and in 2010, he was overseeing the construction of an LeT/JUD facility.
From 2003 to 2010, Iqbal was also the director of LeT/JUD's education department.
In this capacity, Iqbal has been involved in recruiting activities on behalf of the group and has prepared the curricula for schools run by LeT/JUD in Pakistan. As of 2010, Iqbal was a joint secretary of a university trust created by LeT/JUD to carry out activities on behalf of the group.
Iqbal formed LeT in the late 1980s with current LeT/JUD emir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, designated by the US as a terrorist in May 2008, and by the UN in December 2008. In 1989 or 1990, Iqbal traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with LeT/JUD chief Saeed to request financial support from Osama bin Laden.
The Treasury said Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi is a founding member of LeT and deputy to Hafiz Saeed. He has served as the acting emir of LeT/JUD on at least two occasions, including when Saeed was detained in the days after the November 2008 Mumbai attack and held until June 2009.
Bhuttavi handled the group's day-to-day functions during this period. He also helped prepare the operatives for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by delivering lectures on the merits of martyrdom.
Bhuttavi has issued fatwas authorizing LeT/JUD's militant operations, has instructed group leaders and members, and is responsible for LeT/JUDís madrassah network. In mid-2002, Bhuttavi was in-charge of establishing an LeT/JUD organizational base in Lahore, Pakistan, the Treasury Department said.