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Outlawed Jamaat gets new avatar

world Updated: Jan 02, 2009 01:30 IST
HT Foreign Bureau

The Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JuD), outlawed by the United Nations Security Council, could now be functioning under the name of Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool (Movement to Defend the Prophet) in Pakistan, Indian officials believe.

Pointing out that Pakistan was still to ban the Jamaat, a front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, as required by the Security Council, the officials said Islamabad had not complied with its international obligations.

“Effectively, it is business as usual for the JuD,” a senior official who did not want to be named said, adding that the group was also believed to be operating a new website.

In the midst of these latest claims, Pakistani officials did not confirm media reports that a US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team had visited Faridkot, the hometown of the lone surviving Mumbai gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab.

On Thursday, the respected Dawn newspaper reported that a five-member FBI team, headed by William Robert, director for South Asia, had visited Faridkot.

Local officials and sources, when contacted by Hindustan Times, said they were unaware of the visit. The US has reportedly handed over evidence of the Mumbai attackers' links to the Lashkar in Pakistan.

Western media reports have pointed to confessions made by Zarar Shah, LeT's communications chief, confirming what Kasab has told Indian police officials in Mumbai.

However, Pakistan has, so far, said nothing about where or why Shah and his boss, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were being detained.

Dawn, too, said the Interior Ministry did not confirm the reported visit by an FBI team to Faridkot. "It is not in the knowledge of the Interior Ministry and the Punjab government," Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah was quoted as saying.

"It is impossible for the US team to pay any visit without informing us, the Federal Intelligence Agency and the provincial Punjab government," he said.

An FBI spokesman, Richard Kolko, when contacted by the paper, said: "The FBI continues to assist Indian authorities with their investigation. We will work with the Indian authorities and our partners to follow leads wherever they may take us."

When asked if an FBI team had visited Faridkot, Kolko said: "We are unable to provide details of what is being done. We refer you to Indian authorities or the US State Department for any additional information."

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "tangible results" from American pressure on Pakistan to shut down terror networks in Pakistan were still awaited.