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Twitter blocks account of Pakistani Islamist leader

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A Pakistani Islamist group designated a terror outfit by the UN angrily accused the Indian media Monday of pressuring Twitter into blocking the account of its leader.

Attempts to access the Twitter page of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) group alleged to have been behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, resulted in a message saying the account had been suspended.

“The Indian media is propagating against Hafiz Saeed and the Twitter administration has also been forced by the same Indian media,” Asif Khurshid, a JuD spokesman told AFP.

“Twitter must clarify its position because Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a charity and an Islamic welfare organisation,” he said.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment by AFP.

Saeed used his account on Twitter, which was active for several years to direct messages of hate toward India and express support for the disputed region of Kashmir’s right to self-determination.

JuD is listed as an alias of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Islamist group by the United Nations, which has also labelled Saeed an abettor of Al Qaeda and brought sanctions against him, although he has never been convicted of a crime inside Pakistan.

Aside from its alleged role in the Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people, LeT is active against Indian forces in Kashmir and was blamed for an attack on the Indian consul in Herat, Afghanistan in May.

It is also a designated a terror outfit by the United States and the European Union.

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Despite being nominally banned by the government of Pakistan, its activists are allowed free movement and staged a major rally in the city of Lahore last weekend.

The party has since made a fresh account with @HafizSaeedJUD1, with its latest Tweet announcing: “This is the new Official Twitter account of Hafiz Saeed, Ameer Jamat ud Dawah — Official Response on Twitter double standards soon.”

In Islamabad Monday, female Pakistani students affiliated with the capital’s radical Red Mosque issued a video statement praising the Islamic State group and calling on it to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.

The two-minute clip was uploaded to YouTube, which is blocked in Pakistan, on November 26 and has received almost 3,000 views.

The women belong to the Jamia Hafsa seminary which in April named its small library in honour of bin Laden.

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