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Pakistan permits charities US calls terrorist

Written by: Staff
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ISLAMABAD, May 2 (Reuters) Pakistan has no plans to act against two charities listed by the United States last week as terrorist organisations, the foreign ministry said today.

The State Department last Friday designated Jamaat ud-Dawa and one of its affiliates, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, as terrorist organisations, saying they were fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the most feared Islamist groups fighting in Kashmir.

The State Department said all assets held by the two charities in the United States would be frozen.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan was under no obligation to comply with the US decision.

''We are not required, and we do not put any entities on the terrorist lists, if action is taken under the domestic US law,'' she told her weekly news briefing.

''However, if the UN Security Council's sanctions committee were to designate any organisation (as a terrorist group), then it becomes legal obligation to take action.'' Typically, organisations anticipate that they will be sanctioned and shift their funds before they can be frozen, and change their names to escape the ban.

Jamaat ud-Dawa has been prominent in providing relief after an earthquake killed over 73,000 people and left around three million destitute in Kashmir and northwest Pakistan in October.

Lashkar was banned by Pakistan in January 2002 after a militant attack on the Indian parliament brought the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours to the brink of a war.

Lashkar, which grew out of an anti-US Sunni Muslim missionary group, was put on the US terrorist list in 2001.

It was also sanctioned by a UN committee on terrorism for its association with al Qaeda, though security analysts say that Lashkar has maintained less strong linkages with Osama bin Laden's network than several other Pakistan jihadi movements.

REUTERS CH PM1837

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