Washington: The US has backed India's move to declare four notorious criminals, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, as terrorists individually under a new anti-terror law, expanding possibilities of cooperation between the two countries to combat the scourge of terrorism.
India on Wednesday declared Mumbai terror attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi, fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, as individual terrorists by the government under a new anti-terror law.
"We stand w/ #India & commend it for utilizing new legal authorities to designate 4 notorious terrorists: Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi & Dawood Ibrahim. This new law expands possibilities for joint #USIndia efforts to combat scourge of terrorism," the Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, tweeted on Wednesday.
The decisions to declare all four of them as terrorist have been taken nearly a month after Parliament approved a crucial amendment to The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Act, 1967.
The four are the first to be declared terrorists under the new anti-law, an official at the Ministry of Home Affairs said in New Delhi.
According to the UAPA, earlier only a group could be declared as terrorist organisation. The amendments made in the Act allows government to declare even an individual as terrorist.
These four are involved in terrorist attacks in India and have been designated as global terrorists under United Nations.
Under the new bill, the government can impose a travel ban on individuals who have been designated as "terrorists" and seize their properties. The law is in conformity with United Nations conventions as well as international standards, the government said.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings the JuD chief to justice.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny terrorists safe haven and block their access to funds.
In May, the United Nations designated Azhar as a "global terrorist" after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him.