I recently wrote a short piece about PTI is funding JUD programmes and how these organisations use crises to grow their own power at the expense of the state. The crises I was discussing were natural such as floods and famines. Today, however, PTI changed the date of its latest demonstration in order to facilitate a JUD demonstration that was scheduled for same day, which made me wonder just how deep the ties between these two groups run, and I was surprised by what I discovered.
Like most political leaders, Imran Khan and PTI have kept a careful distance from Hafiz Saeed and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, neither openly supporting or openly condemning. Asked directly to name Hafiz Saeed and his organisations, Imran Khan quickly back pedaled and gave the same excuse he has always given for not speaking out against Taliban: He is too scared for his life.
At other times, Imran Khan has explained that it was his ‘duty’ to engage with Hafiz Saeed and that there was no proof against him other than some evidence provided by India which makes it meaningless. When American announced a reward of $10 million for evidence against Hafiz Saeed, PTI President Javed Hashmi announced that those who accuse Hafiz Saeed are the real terrorist while praising Jamaat-ud-Dawa as deserving of respect and honour by all Muslims of the world. PTI Vice President Ejaz Chaudhry spoke at Hafiz Saeed’s Difa-e-Pakistan rallies where he proclaimed that “Pakistan needs to be “cleansed of America” and even attended a Jamaat-ud-Dawa rally to declare Osama bin Laden as the ‘martyr of Islam’.
Imran Khan’s excuse is always that he is not attending, only his emissaries, and that they are not the only party that is ‘engaging’ with banned elements. It is PTI, though, that seems to be hand in glove with JUD at every turn, either supporting, attending, parroting, and even funding their activities. Many believe that PTI is supported by certain elements within the state, and the same is true of JUD. Probably there will never be enough evidence to make a fool proof case, but there is also the saying that ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’.