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Pak lauds UK ban on tribal rebel group

The UK Home Office says it intends to use anti-terror laws to ban two groups, the BLA and Teyrebaz Azadiye Kurdistan.

india Updated: Jul 25, 2006 16:33 IST

Pakistan on Tuesday welcomed a move by Britain to ban a tribal rebel group waging an insurgency in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan.

The British Home Office said on Monday that it intended to use existing anti-terror laws to ban two international groups, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Teyrebaz Azadiye Kurdistan.

The BLA, outlawed by Islamabad in April, has been waging a sporadic revolt in recent years in sparsely-populated Balochistan to win more political rights and a greater share of profits from natural resources.

"Of course we welcome it," foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told the agency.

"We understand that legal procedures are still underway and the bill is being presented in the British parliament," she said.

When asked if Pakistan had asked Britain to outlaw the group, she replied that the BLA was a terrorist organisation and "it is an expectation" that other countries should also ban it.

Vast and poverty stricken Balochistan has a long history of tribal unrest in its deserts and rugged mountains, with major clashes between government troops and rebels in the 1970s.

The current troubles erupted in early 2005 and include frequent militant bomb and rocket attacks on government and military installations and reprisals by the security forces.

Hundreds of people have died in the past year and a half, many of them civilians, officials say.

Britain's announcement of the ban on the BLA came as it said it intended to proscribe two domestic Islamist militant groups under new laws prohibiting the glorification of terrorism.