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December 15, 2001
2111 IST

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Jaish, Lashkar change names to avoid freezing of assets

To avoid trouble over freezing of their assets by the United States, two terrorist outfits - Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba - which are suspected to be involved in the attack on Parliament House, are reported to have changed their names, according to the Pakistani media.

While Jaish-e-Mohammad has changed its nomenclature to 'Al Furqan', Lashkar-e-Tayiba has renamed itself to 'Pasban-i-Ahle Hadith', the reports said.

Both the outfits changed their names following their inclusion in the US state department's terrorist watch-list and visa negative list, the Dawn said in a report.

The report said Jaish-e-Mohammad, led by Maulana Masood Azhar who was let off by India in exchange for the passengers of the Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999, was renamed in a document of the 'Muttahida Jihad Council' (MJC), an umbrella body of Kashmiri militant outfits.

"When asked to identify Al Furqan mentioned in the list of the MJC members, a spokesman for the council told Dawn that it was the Jaish's new name."

"He said the name was changed following the Jaish's placement on the US state department's terrorist watch-list," the report said.

"A MJC member said despite Islamabad's shift in its Afghan policy and foreign pressure, jihadi organisations did not face a crackdown (in Pakistan)," the report said.

"We are relaxed and have no pressure from the government to stop our activities," the paper quoted the MJC member as saying.

Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, in a recent interview, had said that his outfit would soon launch 'six to seven Lal Qila-type attacks' in India.

"We will launch six to seven Lal Qila-type of attacks in India to revive the Kashmir issue and bring it to forefront," Saeed had told Pakistani Urdu daily Ausaf.

By imposing a ban on the militant outfits, India and the US would not be able to stop them from waging jihad in Kashmir, the daily had reported Saeed as saying on November 21.

Though both Jaish and Lashkar had on Thursday denied involvement in the attack on Parliament House, security analysts in New Delhi saw a number of similarities in modus operandi of the December 13 attack and the strike on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly building in Srinagar on October one resulting in the death of 38 people.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad had then immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, much to the embarrassment of Pakistan. Subsequently, however, they had withdrawn the claim in a statement from Pakistan.

Intelligence sources, quoting intercepts of communication between militant groups, suspect the Lashkar and Jaish to be behind the attack on Parliament.

PTI

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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