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Militants groups of Pak seek lifting of ban

Former Lashkar-e-Toiba chief says Pakistani militant groups that were banned by President Musharraf will approach the SC seeking the lifting of restrictions on them.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2008 17:40 IST

Pakistani militant groups that were banned by President Pervez Musharraf will approach the Supreme Court seeking the lifting of restrictions on them, former Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has said.

"The ban was a step that the retired general took only to please America and now it is abundantly clear that the people have rejected his policies," said Saeed, who now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

He criticised Musharraf's Kashmir policy and alleged that an "U-turn" made by the previous government on the Kashmir issue had badly damaged the "Kashmiri freedom struggle".

All the options that Musharraf had offered on the Kashmir issue had not been responded to by India, he claimed.

"It is necessary now that new Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani should review the country's Kashmir policy, immediately change the stance and talk openly to resolve this issue," Saeed told The News.

The banned groups would approach the apex court for the lifting of restrictions on them, Saeed said and asked Musharraf to step down as the mandate given by the people in the general election had been "against him and America".

The Lashker-e-Toiba, which is involved in militant activities in India, is among the groups that were banned by Musharraf following pressure from the US.

Saeed said scientist A Q Khan, under house arrest for the past four years after admitting to proliferating nuclear secrets, was a "victim who has suffered a great deal and should immediately be released and his honour restored".

Saeed demanded that Khan be made the next president of the country as he "deserved" the position.

Asked whether he was still in contact with the Pakistan Army as in the past, Saeed said that he now had "no contact with the army at any level".

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