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Pakistani Minorities Protest Terrorism Label on Islamic Groups

Some 200 people from Pakistan's minority communities have staged a protest in Karachi against the recent U.S. decision to add two aliases of a militant group to its terrorism list.

These aliases are Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, both part of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is fighting in Kashmir against India.

The Hindu and Christian protesters said the Islamic group provides food, medical aid and water to poor people without any religious discrimination. They say the U.S. action will deprive those people of much needed help.

The U.S. State Department announced the move against the group last month, saying Lashkar-e-Toiba is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India.

That State Department decision to list the aliases blocks all property and interests of the two groups in the United States.

The announcement said that after Washington designated the group as a terrorist organization in 2001 and the Pakistani government outlawed it, Lashkar renamed itself Jamaat-ud-Dawa in order to evade sanctions. The United Nations has also sanctioned Lashkar-e-Toiba for its ties to the terrorist group al-Qaida.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.