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Pakistan Denies Islamic Charity Link to UK Bomb Plot

Pakistan has rejected recent news reports linking a local charity with the alleged plan to blow up passenger planes headed to the United States from Britain. Officials insist money donated for earthquake relief did not fund suspected terrorists.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told reporters the allegations that money was diverted from charities to terror groups are completely baseless.

"These are all absurd stories. The objective is to malign Pakistan and to cast a shadow on the efforts made by Pakistan to uncover and foil this terrorist plot," she said.

The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers published stories this week suggesting a Pakistani charity, Jamaat ud-Dawa, may have provided funds for the alleged bomb plot.

Authorities in London are reportedly investigating an unnamed Pakistani charity with offices in Britain.

Britain is holding 23 people for questioning in connection with the broader investigation into the alleged bomb plot.

Pakistan, which has been credited with helping uncover the plan, has also arrested at least 17 other suspects, including a British citizen with alleged ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The New York Times also said this week that Pakistani authorities are exploring a possible link between the suspects and the Jamaat ud-Dawa charity.

The United States has banned the charity as a terrorist organization on the grounds that it has links with the Pakistani Islamic militant group Lashkar-e Tayyiba, which is a State Department designated terrorist organization.

Lashkar-e Tayyiba is one of the largest groups fighting Indian forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. U.S. officials accuse the group of maintaining ties with al-Qaida. Pakistan banned the organization in 2002 for links to terrorism.

Despite those concerns, Jamaat ud-Dawa, the charity, operated relief camps in Kashmir following last year's deadly earthquake.

Jamaat ud-Dawa has denied funding any terrorist activities. It has also denied claims in The New York Times that it raises funds in mosques in Britain.