By Arif Qureshi
Islamabad: The United States added the Al-Muhammadia Students organization (AMS) and two of its senior commanders into its list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)” on Wednesday. US blamed student wing of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), works with senior leaders of the organization to recruit people and organize activities for the youth, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury official website. Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Spokesman Yahya Mujahid reacted strongly over the announcement of LeT leader’s inclusion into “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)” through a press statement. He said Muhammd Sarwar and Shahid Mahmood are the leaders of JuD who are part of our relief work and Al-Muhammadia Students organizations is a legal organization which operates in educational institutions of Pakistan. JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said Jamat ud Dawa(JuD) has no connection With Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) and recent move of United States will be seen in the context of another action against Islam and Muslims.
According to the statement the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today to disrupt Lashkar-e Tayyiba’s (LeT) fundraising and support networks by designating two of the group’s senior leaders, Muhammad Sarwar (Sarwar) and Shahid Mahmood (Mahmood), as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Sarwar and Mahmood are being designated for acting for or on behalf of LeT, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan. All property and interests in property of Sarwar and Mahmood subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. “These two Lashkar-e Tayyiba leaders are responsible for raising and moving funds to support the terrorist group’s operations,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director. “Today’s action not only aims to expose their activities, but also disrupts Lashkar-e Tayyiba’s financial network and ability to carry out violent terrorist attacks.”
Muhammad Sarwar alias Abu Hashim Rabbani
Muhammad sarwar alias abu Hashim Rabbani the head of JuD chapter Lahore also reacted over the announcement through his official Twitter account. He posted the statement of JuD spokesman on his account in which JuD said that Shahid Mahmood and Muhammad Sarwar are office bearers of outfit and performing relief activates in Pakistan. And they do not accept the new sanctions of US foreign and finance departments.
شاہدمحموداور محمدسرورJUDکےذمہ داران ہیں،پاکستان میں رفاہی سرگرمیاں سرانجام دےرہےہیں۔امریکی محکمہ خزانہ وخارجہ کی نئی پابندیاں قبول نہیں کرتے
Muhammad Sarwar has been a senior LeT official in Lahore for over ten years and has held various leadership roles in the group, including his current position as LeT’s emir for Lahore, Pakistan, a position he has held since at least January 2015. As the LeT emir of Lahore, Sarwar maintains relationships with LeT’s most senior leaders. Between 2012 and 2013, Sarwar worked with LeT’s foreign affairs chief Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, and in early 2013, Makki asked Sarwar for money to pay for his travel within Pakistan. OFAC designated Makki pursuant to E.O. 13224 in November 2010. Sarwar’s activity with LeT dates back to the early 2000s. In his capacity as LeT Lahore emir, Sarwar has been directly involved in LeT fundraising activities and uses the formal financial system in Pakistan to raise and move funds on behalf of LeT. For example, in 2008, Sarwar led delegations of businessmen to LeT facilities for the purpose of soliciting donations for the group, and as of mid-2009, Sarwar was one of two officials who headed LeT’s finance wing in Lahore.
US treasury blamed shahid Mahmood for travelling overseas to look after the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operarions headed by Sajid Mir one of the Mumbai attacks masterminds. Mahmood was previously part of LeT’s overseas operations team led by Sajjid Mir. OFAC designated Mir pursuant to E.O. 13224 in August 2012, said statement.
Shahid Mahmood has been a senior LeT member based in Karachi, Pakistan, and has been affiliated with the group since at least 2007. As early as June 2015 through at least June 2016, Mahmood served as the vice chairman of Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a humanitarian and fundraising arm of LeT. FIF has been designated as an alias for LeT pursuant to E.O. 13224 and the State Department’s Foreign Terrorism Organization authorities, as well as by the UN 1267/1989 Committee. In 2014, Mahmood was the leader of FIF in Karachi. In August 2013, Mahmood was identified as a LeT publications wing member.
Since at least 2012, Mahmood has routinely traveled overseas and worked with international organizations on behalf of LeT to conduct business for the group in FIF’s name. For example, when acting as the head of FIF in Karachi, Mahmood traveled to Bangladesh to distribute funds to a Burmese migrant camp for the purpose of facilitating LeT recruitment. In August 2012, Mahmood, while in charge of the Sindh, Pakistan chapter of FIF, led a LeT delegation to Burma, and in mid-2014, he traveled to Syria and Turkey and was subsequently appointed to lead FIF efforts in both countries. Mahmood has also traveled to Bangladesh and Gaza on behalf of FIF. While part of LeT’s operations team, Mahmood’s areas of responsibility included Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. Additionally, in August 2013, Mahmood was instructed to forge covert links with Islamic organizations in Bangladesh and Burma, and as of late 2011, Mahmood claimed that LeT’s primary concern should be attacking India and America.
In December 2001, the Department of State designated LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as an SDGT pursuant to E.O. 13224. LeT was added to the UN 1267/1989 Committee’s Consolidated List – its list of sanctioned terrorists – in May 2005. In March 2012, the 1267/1989 Committee amended its Consolidated List to recognize FIF as a front for LeT. Today’s designations are being timed in coordination with today’s State Department amendment of LeT’s FTO and EO designations to include a new alias, Al-Muhammadia Students (AMS).