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Baluchistan Liberation Army

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 22 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will publish the evidence provided by the Pakistani authorities which was taken into account by the Government when deciding to proscribe the Baluchistan Liberation Army; (197786)

(2) what evidence formed the basis for the Government's decision to proscribe the Baluchistan Liberation Army;

(3) what criteria were applied in the decision-making process which led to the proscribing of the Baluchistan Liberation Army;

(4) what the reasons were for the timing of the decision to proscribe the Baluchistan Liberation Army in 2006.

In practice there are two stages to the Secretary of State's decision making process in determining whether to proscribe an organisation. Firstly, the Secretary of State must consider whether she believes the organisation is concerned in terrorism within the meaning of section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Section 3 provides that an organisation is concerned in terrorism if it:

(a) commits or participates in acts of terrorism;

(b) prepares for terrorism;

(c) promotes or encourages terrorism; or

(d) is otherwise concerned in terrorism.

If the outcome at the first stage of the decision making process is that the Secretary of State believes that the organisation is concerned in terrorism, she then has discretion as to whether or not to proscribe it. In exercising that discretion successive Secretaries of State have had regard to five factors in particular. They are:

(a) The nature and scale of an organisation's activities;

(b) The specific threat that it poses to the United Kingdom;

(c) The specific threat that it poses to British nationals overseas;

(d) The extent of the organisation's presence in the United Kingdom; and

(e) The need to support other members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army was proscribed in 2006 because the Secretary of State believed the organisation to be concerned in terrorism and determined, as a matter of discretion, that it should be proscribed. More information about the Baluchistan Liberation Army's activities was listed in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2006 (SI2006/2016), which added it to the list of proscribed organisations. These included nine bombings of railway stations in 2005 and the murder of Chinese engineers in February 2006.

The Government do not comment on the nature and source of the evidence underpinning proscription decisions.