New York: A United Nations Security Council panel placed under sanctions four leading lights of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terrorist group blamed for last month's Mumbai attack. It has also listed a charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, as one of its front organizations.
Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, identified by the lone surviving terrorist, as the chief trainer and plotter of the attack and by Indian agencies as the military chief, along with the organisation's founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, are among the four men listed for sanctions. They include Haji Muhammad Ashraf, the group's finance chief and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a fundraiser.
The sanctions include an asset freeze and travel ban, according to the US State Department.
The Security Council's al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, acting after requests from India and the US, described the Pakistan-based charity Jamaat ud-Dawa as an alias for Lashkar-e-Taiba.
"These actions will limit the ability of known terrorists to travel, acquire weapons, plan, carry out, or raise funds for new terrorist attacks," the State Department said.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba has been identified as the terrorist outfit responsible for training a batch of at least ten of its cadres and unleashing them on a massacre of 180 citizens in India's financial capital Mumbai in a three day period from the evening of 26 November to the morning of 29 November. Another 300 people were injured in the raid.
Lakhvi is reportedly under detention by Pakistani authorities.
The US Treasury Department earlier this year described him as an important fundraiser and trainer for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which had been 'banned' by Pakistani authorities in 2002. It had also imposed sanctions on all the four office bearers in May.
The UN sanctions committee also listed aliases for the Al Rashid and Al Akhtar Trusts, which have raised funds for Lashkar.
Jamaat ud-Dawa was spun off from Lashkar as a religious foundation when the guerrilla group was supposedly 'banned' by Pakistan's government in 2002.
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday the sophistication of the attack on Mumbai indicated Lashkar-e-Taiba can operate at a "much higher level" than military officials thought before the assault.
Adm. Mullen praised Pakistan's government for talking what he called the "first steps" toward shutting down the group.