In a bid to evade mounting global pressure, Pakistan has reportedly launched a new terror outfit to carry out attacks in India. Government sources say that the new outfit has been named as All India Lashkar-e-Taiba, which many say is simple rechristening of the existing, infamous Lashkar-e-Taiba. Sources say that the new outfit’s existence came into knowledge of Indian intelligence agencies after a ‘hitlist’ was sent to the office of the National Investigation Agency recently. Sources say that under the sender’s name, the terror group’s name was mentioned. The ‘hitlist’ includes several prominent names such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP patriarch LK Advani, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli. This is the first instance of a terror outfit targeting a cricketer. Intelligence agencies have launched a probe to find out if this group has gained any footprints in India.
The development comes amid reports of global terrorist Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, running the terror empire from Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat Rai jail. According to a PTI report, the Mumbai attack mastermind is running the affairs of his banned Jamaat-ud Dawah (JuD) group from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, where he recently played the role of an arbitrator in a high-profile case between the police and the family of a suspected ATM thief who died in police custody. Salahuddin Ayubi, who was mentally challenged, died in police custody last month due to alleged torture after his arrest on charges of stealing money from an ATM.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
Islamabad is under immense global pressure to act against terrorists operating from its soil. Earlier this month, Paris-based Financial Action Task Force had put Islamabad on notice, warning that the country will be blacklisted if it does not control terror funding by February next. The FATF voiced serious concern over Pakistan’s failure to deliver on most of its 27 targets. The international terror financing watchdog warning means that it would be very difficult for Pakistan to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, ADB and the European Union. There is also the risk of reduction in rating by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch, making Pakistan’s financial condition more precarious. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance in a statement reaffirmed its political commitment to fully implement the action plan.