In a major setback to Hafiz Saeed’s political ambitions, the United States today designated Milli Muslim League (MML), a political front of Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud Dawa, as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The US Department of State amended its designation identifying MML and Tehreek-i-Azadi-i-Kashmir TAJK, making it impossible for them to register as political parties.
TAJK is said to be a front of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which according to the Trump administration, continues to operate freely inside Pakistan. It also designated seven members of the MML as foreign terrorists for acting on behalf of LeT.
Among other consequences of the designations, LeT’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.
The State Department said the move was aimed at denying the LeT resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks. Nathan A Sales, Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, said LeT has repeatedly changed its name over the years, to avoid sanctions.
Sales said the US supports all efforts to ensure that LeT does not have a political voice until it gives up violence as a tool of influence.
The move comes a day after the Election Commission of Pakistan has asked the MML to produce a clearance certificate by the interior ministry for its registration as a political party.
The election commission had earlier rejected the MML’s application for registration as a political party after the interior ministry objected to its ties to banned militant outfits.
General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan in July.