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Pak freezes Taliban bank accounts
Top JUI leader under house arrest

Islamabad, October 7
In a major blow to Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban regime, Pakistan has frozen 146 bank accounts belonging to the militia’s leading ministers and officials along with three Afghan entities in order to comply with the UN resolutions.

“In line with the United Nations resolutions, Pakistan has frozen bank accounts and assets of the top Taliban leaders being maintained in Pakistan banks,” the daily Dawn said today in a Peshawar datelined story.

The UN resolutions passed in 1999 and 2000 called for freezing of bank accounts and assets of 146 Taliban officials, 10 Arabs including Osama bin Laden, and three Afghan entities.

“Acting on the order to comply with the UN resolutions, the State Bank of Pakistan had issued two circulars in January and in August this year to freeze and then provide details of accounts and assets of people named by the UN,” the report said.

Quoting a senior banker based in Peshawar, it said “the bank accounts of Taliban and Arabs - wanted by USA under the charges of terrorism - have been frozen.”

The News had also reported on September 16 that over 300 accounts of Afghan nationals, including Taliban officials, were frozen.

The list of frozen accounts published by Dawn included the names of 87 Taliban ministers and governors. The ministers included Taliban Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil Muttawakil and Defence Minister Ubaidullah Akund. Other top officials included Chief Justice of Taliban’s Supreme Court Noor Mohammad Saqib and the militia’s ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salem Zaeef.

The three frozen business entities are Ariana Afghan Airlines, Da Afghanistan Bank and Da Afghanistan Momtaz Bank.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military authorities made their first clear move against pro-Taliban radical Islamic groups today, placing a prominent leader under house arrest hours before he was due to address a major anti-American protest.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami (JUI) party, told Reuters by telephone that he had been put under house arrest after a ‘’large number’’ of police and paramilitary forces surrounded his home and an adjoining Islamic school in the early hours today.

“At about 5.30 a.m. (0030 GMT) when I came out for morning prayers I was told that I can’t go out. I was not given any written order,’’ Rehman said.

“This is the result of the government’s nervousness and is an attempt to give false reassurance to USA”, he added.

“This will further increase (anti-American) provocation.’’

JUI information secretary Riaz Durrani earlier said Rehman had been confined to his home in Dera Ismail Khan near the Afghan border in North West Frontier province, for an indefinite period.

Rehman is the first prominent pro-Taliban supporter to be detained in Pakistan.

The JUI has been central to almost daily protests throughout the country protesting against threatened US military strikes on Afghanistan in a bid to flush out militant fugitive Osama bin Laden, sheltered by the Taliban and accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks on the USA.

Rehman, who had been due to address a protest in the central city of Multan in Punjab province today, said by early afternoon around 30 to 40 security personnel remained stationed outside his house.

Military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf has been walking a political tightrope, trying to counter anti-US sentiment while recognising the political and economic need to side with the global coalition and its “war on terrorism’’.

JUI had already achieved the objective to inspire action against “aggression towards Afghanistan’’, Rehman said.

“This campaign will continue at every level. We have instructed our workers and tribal people (on the Afghan border) to watch the frontier,’’ he said. PTI, ReutersBack

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