The Department of State has amended the designation of Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) to include the aliases Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e- Azadi-e Kashmir (TAJK). The aliases have been added to LeT’s designations as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224.
These designations seek to deny LeT the resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks. Among other consequences of the designations, LeT’s property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.
Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, noted that “today’s amendments take aim at Lashkar e-Tayyiba’s efforts to circumvent sanctions and deceive the public about its true character. Make no mistake: whatever LeT chooses to call itself, it remains a violent terrorist group. The United States supports all efforts to ensure that LeT does not have a political voice until it gives up violence as a tool of influence.”
Formed in the 1980s, LeT was responsible for the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that killed 166 people, including six Americans, and has killed dozens of Indian security forces and civilians in recent years. LeT continues to operate freely within Pakistan, holding public rallies, raising funds, and plotting and training for terrorist attacks. The Department of State designated LeT as an FTO and SDGT on December 26, 2001. Its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is also designated as an SDGT.
To avoid sanctions, LeT has repeatedly changed its name over the years. In January 2017, LeT began operating under the name Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir. LeT has engaged in terrorist activities under this name, including inciting terrorism, as well as recruiting and fundraising. In August 2017, LeT chief Hafiz Saeed created the MML to serve as a political front for the group. LeT members make up MML’s leadership and the so-called party openly displays Saeed’s likeness in its election banners and literature.
Concurrently with today’s State Department actions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated seven members of the MML central leadership body for acting for on behalf of LeT: Saifullah Khalid, Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi, Muhammad Harris Dar, Tabish Qayyuum, Fayyaz Ahmad, Faisal Nadeem, and Muhammad Ehsan.
Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that TAJK and MML are aliases of LeT. Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and other governments.