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Pakistan seals offices Al-Amin Trust, says report

December 15, 2008 17:41 IST

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The Pakistan government has sealed offices of Al-Amin Trust in Karachi and Lahore [Images] and frozen several bank accounts as part of its ongoing crackdown on groups added to a UN Security Council list of terrorist organisations subject to sanctions.

The Al-Amin Trust has been designated by the UN Security Council and the US Treasury Department as a front for the outlawed Al-Rashid Trust, which was also banned by Pakistan's interior ministry in February last year.

Twenty-four offices of the Al-Amin Trust in Karachi, including its head office, were sealed yesterday and the organisation's bank accounts across the country were sealed, officials told the media.

In Lahore, three offices of the Trust, located in Defence Housing Authority, Gulberg and Regal Chowk, were also sealed yesterday.

However, no arrests were made in either Lahore or Karachi, officials said.

In a notification issued to all provinces, the federal interior ministry has ordered the sealing of all Al-Amin Trust offices, freezing of its accounts and seizure of licensed weapons.

"All of our offices have been sealed and bank accounts seized. As for the recovery of weapons, we do not have any arms," Al-Amin Trust spokesman Muhammad Abdullah told the Daily Times newspaper. The Trust's ambulance service has also been stopped.

The Al-Rashid Trust was designated a terrorist organisation by the US Treasury Department in 2001 for its links to al-Qaeda. It was put on the UN Security Council's list of groups linked to al-Qaeda and Taliban [Images] in 2002.

In July this year, the US Treasury Department named Al-Amin Trust as an alias for Al-Rashid Trust. At the time, Adam J Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, had said US was "very concerned" about groups like Al-Rashid Trust "reconstituting themselves under new names in attempts to circumvent sanctions and continue funnelling money to terrorist activities".

But Al-Amin Trust spokesman Abdullah said his group was "still trying to figure out" why the Pakistan government had acted against it.

"We will appeal in the court to challenge the imposition of the ban because we were never involved in any immoral activity and our relief and other activities in

Pakistan are being affected following this step," he claimed.

Pakistani authorities have said that the Al-Rashid Trust was involved in financially supporting the Taliban in the tribal areas and treating injured Taliban fighters.

Following intense pressure from the US and India, the Pakistan government cracked down on the Lashker-e-Toiba, which has been accused of planning and carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], on December 7.

LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was among over 20 militants detained by Pakistani security forces.

After the UN Security Council designated the Jamaat-ud-Dawah a front for the LeT and put four LeT leaders on a list of terrorists subject to sanctions, the Pakistangovernment initiated a clampdown on the Jamaat on December 11.

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