WASHINGTON - The US State Department added the name of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on Thursday.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an anti-Shia militant group founded by Ishaq , along with Akram Lahori alias Muhammad Ajmal and Riaz Basra, has been accused of numerous attacks on Pakistani and US citizens over the years.
The State Department provided few details on Ishaq in yesterday’s designation however noted that he continues to lead the terror group. Previous designations of LeJ have directly linked the group to al-Qaeda.
In addition to Ishaq’s designation under E.O. 13224, the State Department also reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organisation designation of LeJ in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.
The Department took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
As a result of maintaining the FTO designation, the legal consequences of the designation remain in place, including the prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to LeJ, and the freezing of all its assets under the control or possession of US financial institutions.
The US believes Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a group that has allegedly integrated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in tribal areas of Pakistan. It also believes the outfit has an extensive network and its members often serve as al-Qaeda’s muscle for terror attacks. In 1997, Malik Ishaq reportedly admitted his involvement in terrorist activity that resulted in the deaths of over 100 Pakistanis. More recently, in February 2013, Pakistani police arrested Ishaq in connection with attacks on January 10 and February 16, 2013 in Quetta that killed nearly 200 Pakistani civilians, mostly Hazara Shias. LeJ claimed responsibility for the Quetta bombings.