Pakistan has banned two militant groups with links to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda for their involvement in several terror attacks, according to the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA).
The website of NACTA showed the ban on Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami was imposed on November 11, taking the total number of proscribed groups to 63.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, is not among the banned organisations and is only “under observation”.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami has been linked to the IS while Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is linked to al-Qaeda. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is a breakaway faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al-Alami is also affiliated with sectarian organisations that have targeted the Shia minority.
Officials said both groups were banned after deadly attacks in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, including an assault at the Sufi Shah Noorani shrine in Balochistan that killed 52 people.
The IS claimed the attack on the shrine and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami spokesman Ali bin Sufyan said his group was cooperating with the IS “directly or indirectly”. The IS and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami also claimed an attack on a police academy in Balochistan that killed more than 60 people.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni group, has its roots in Punjab province and has usually targeted the Shia minority. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar had claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the Civil Hospital in Quetta in August that had killed at least 75 people.
Two LeJ militants were recently arrested for killing qawwal Amjad Sabri in Karachi but this was later denied by police.
The list of banned groups on the NACTA website showed that the JuD has been “under observation” since January 17, 2007. The Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have been listed as banned groups since January 14, 2002.