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Pakistan stops senior Lashkar leader from travelling to Saudi Arabia

world Updated: Apr 15, 2015 13:14 IST
Hindustan Times

A senior Lashkar-e-Taiba leader, who was designated a terrorist by the US in 2012, has been barred by Pakistani authorities from travelling to Saudi Arabia, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Ameer Hamza, described by the US as a member of LeT's central advisory committee, was stopped from boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia at Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport by immigration officials on Tuesday.

Hamza wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia with his wife Bushra to perform Umra, The News daily reported. He was told by officials that he could not travel abroad as his name was on the Exit Control List (ECL), a list of all persons barred from going out of Pakistan.

The report said Hamza's name was put on the ECL by the federal interior ministry at the request of the provincial government of Punjab. The report said Hamza and his wife had got Saudi visas for 30 days on March 26.

Hamza was later taken to the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for "necessary legal actions". FIA officials had no information when Hamza was put on the ECL and for what reasons. His passport was also confiscated, the report said.

FIA Director Usman Anwar confirmed that Hamza was prevented from travelling due to the ECL issue. He said Hamza was allowed to leave the FIA office "after legal procedure was completed as he was not wanted to the FIA in any case".

Hamza, who was born in 1959 in Punjab province, is considered a close aide of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed. He has served as editor of a LeT newspaper and was involved in the group's propaganda operations.

He was sanctioned by the US in 2012 along with senior LeT operative Sajjid Mir, accused of being the "project manager" for the Mumbai attacks.

Till 2011, Mir was in charge of LeT's external operations and directed several terrorist attacks. Mir also served as personal secretary to LeT operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key accused in the Mumbai attacks who was recently released from jail on bail.