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2/5/03 - LASHKAR-E-JHANGVI ON TERROR LIST - 2003-02-07

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. The extremist Sunni Muslim group is based in Pakistan. It was involved in the January 2002 kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has long targeted Pakistani Shia Muslims. More recently, it claimed responsibility for the 1997 killing of four American oil workers in Karachi. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi also attempted to assassinate then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

The Pakistani government banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 2001. Since then, many of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s leaders have been arrested, killed in police confrontations, or gone underground. Its former chief, Riaz Basra, was killed in May 2002 in a shootout. In August 2002, police arrested a suspected member of the group who was allegedly planning attacks on Christian churches in the eastern Punjab province.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is linked to the former Islamic extremist Taleban regime in Afghanistan. The group is also thought to have ties to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network. Members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are believed to have sheltered al-Qaida members in Pakistan and are associated with other radical Pakistani Islamic groups. One of those is Jaish-e-Mohammed [jaysh-ah-mohammad], a group accused by India of carrying out the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament. Jaish-e-Mohammed also has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and is banned in Pakistan.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members have made a point of attacking Pakistani religious minorities as well as Western interests in Pakistan. Several of the terrorist group’s members have allegedly carried out political assassinations and attacks against minority Shia Muslims and Christians in recent years. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi also has ties to people arrested for a bombing outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi in June 2002. That attack killed twelve people and wounded fifty.

Depriving Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of material support and funding are critical to fighting international terrorism. As Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Against such enemies, America and the civilized world have only one option: Wherever terrorists operate, we will find them; wherever they dwell, we will hunt them down.”