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Jan 16, 2009 at 12:23am IST

Banned Jamaat speaks, cribs against the world

Lahore: The Islamic charity banned by the UN for allegedly being a front for the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba claims it has been unjustly treated and would appeal against international sanctions.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is regarded as a wing of Lashkar-e-Toiba, which was banned by Pakistan in 2002 after an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. The UN Security Council passed a resolution in December 2008 declaring Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization, but the group claims it has nothing to do with the Laskhar and the ban was “biased”.

Abdullah Muntazari, a spokesperson for the Jamaat, told CNN-IBN’s International Affairs Editor Surya Gangadharan in an interview in Lahore that the group would appeal against the UN ban.

“This (UN ban) was a one-sided measure; no one asked us to clarify our position. There is a universal principle of justice that nobody can be condemned unheard. There was no contact with us, do you have anything to say. It's a biased move by the Security Council and we will try and de-list ourselves,” said Muntazari.

Asked if the Jamaat supported the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Mantzari said: “This is our stated position that targeting civilians, targeting public places that can't be accepted according to the tenets of Islam. This is our position.”

Mantzari accepted that Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the militant leader wanted by India, was Jamaat’s leader but denied any connection with the Lashkar.

“It's not that Lashkar and Jamaat are the same organisations; they are totally different organisations. The Lashkar-e-Toiba has its own command and control. Lashkar is led by Maulana Abdul Wahid Kashmiri; he is from Poonch of (Indian) occupied Kashmir. Hafiz Sayed is head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa since 1986.

“This is our position that we have nothing to do with any kind of armed conflict in Kashmir. We are only operating in Pakistan; our work is only humanitarian, education and preaching.”

Mantzeri accused India of painting Sayeed, who is under house arrest in Pakistan, as a terrorist and claimed that Muridke was not the headquarters of the Lashkar or the Jamaat. He said the Pakistani crackdown on the Jamaat had forced the closure of its seminary and free school in Muridke and elsewhere.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry chief Rahman Malik claimed on Thursday the government had moved against offices, schools, and websites linked to the Jamaat. He also claimed authorities had shut more than a dozen relief camps of the charity.

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