Defending Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity workers

Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity workers

When government officially banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002, Amir Hafiz Saeed started calling his group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The group kept the same leaders, members, even the same flag. To defend his actions, Hafiz Saeed’s strategy was simply to lie. In 1999, Hafiz Saeed openly talked about Lashkar-e-Taiba’s suicide attacks. Speaking to Amir Mir in 2001, Hafiz Saeed spoke as Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and said that his group’s goal was “motivating the youth to participate in jehad and using force to liberate occupied Muslim territories”. Then, when his name was added to a list of terrorists by the UN in 2008, Hafiz Saeed said “No Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba”. Was he lying in 1999 and 2001 or in 2008? Either way, he had to be lying at some point.

Since Lashkar-e-Taiba was forced to change its name, lying has been the cornerstone of the defense of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and it continues to this day. From one side of its mouth, the group claims that it is a welfare organisation, and from the other, it openly advocates jihad, and collects donations to support mujahideen, and organises events promoting global terrorists. The truth is that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is the jihadi version of the fake CIA vaccination campaign, using humanitarian work as a cover for its jihadi activities.

None of this is new information. Actually, it is all done under broad day light and widely reported here and in the international media. Recently, however, there appears to have been a wide spread campaign to hide the group’s true purpose, and it is not just Hafiz Saeed who is involved in the cover up.

Following new calls for shutting down the militant group, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain defended JuD, terming it a charity. News organisations have begun filing reports that parrot claims that JuD is a “welfare group” and highlighting the group’s welfare activities while hiding or downplaying its militant activities. This has left many asking, if the state is serious about zero tolerance policy for militant groups, why the sudden PR campaign to white wash JuD’s image?

DG ISPR recently termed an insult the question whether Pakistan was capable of taking on all militants, but as long as politicians and media continue to defend Jamaat-ud-Dawa by pretending it is a welfare organisation like Edhi Foundation despite the obvious reality, what is the world supposed to think?

Kashmir Jihad: Is Army Undermining Its Own Operations?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson Tasnim Aslam

The Foreign Office has issued a strong statement against Indian firing along the Line of Control terming it as “an attempt to distract our armed forces from its valiant mission against all terrorists”. There can be little doubt about the FO’s claim that increased tensions with India drain vital attention and resources from the fight against terrorists. In order to successfully carry out operations against terrorists, security forces must be able to devote maximum attention to the fight. This is why it is inexplicable why certain militant groups continue to be allowed to operate along the Line of Control.

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Military Courts Offer Little Hope

Debate over the decision to set up new military courts highlights the failures of both the government and the military in tackling terrorism. Recent orders to release hardened terrorists like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Malik Ishaq and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi are only the latest examples of civilian judiciary’s long record of failing to convict even the most brazen terrorists.

It is with this view that many are supporting the establishment of military courts that should be able to not only protect the judges and lawyers involved, but also use critical evidence without exposing sensitive intelligence methods and sources. But military courts have their own problems.

The drawback being discussed most often is the harm that will be done to credibility of the civilian judiciary if the military takes over this function of government. However, the civilian judiciary has already destroyed most of its own credibility as noted above. The bigger question should be whether a military court will be any more likely to tackle the complex problem of jihadi extremism or whether it will be another weapon against the Army’s existing enemies.

There is no doubt that military courts will be busy and that convictions will be swiftly delivered, but other doubts remain. Will military trials include groups friendly to Army like Jamaat-ud-Dawa? Or will the courts be another weapon against those considered enemies like BLA? Will military courts be used to silence those who project pro-Taliban ideology like Abdul Aziz? Or will they be used to silence those who ask embarrassing questions like Saleem Shahzad? Will military courts expose the jihadi networks, or will they perpetuate the narrative that every terrorist is part of RAW-CIA-Mossad conspiracies?

There is little doubt that civilian courts are not up to the task of trying and convicting hardened terrorists. Unfortunately, there is little reason to believe that military courts will be much better.

Update: This post originally included a photograph that claimed to show a judge kissing convicted terrorist Mumtaz Qadri. The authenticity of this photograph has been disputed and the image has been removed.

The Death Penalty Delusion

public hanging

Nawaz Sharif has lifted the ban on death penalty, and Gen Raheel has signed the death warrants for six convicted terrorists. The reaction has been fairly predictable, with right-wing hypernationalists beating their drum to hang someone, anyone, in the streets and left-wing human rights activists worrying about whether death penalty makes us no better than the killers we are killing. I have a different opinion than either of these. I’m not going to lose any sleep over whether a terrorist loses his life. Hang him if it makes you feel better. Hang him from a lamp post if something about that makes you feel more like a man. But don’t expect me to be there cheering it on, either, because it won’t matter. It won’t make one bit of difference.

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Ulema Council’s Qualified Condemnation of Militancy Highlights Double Standards

Pakistan Ulema Council

Pakistan Ulema Council issued a condemnation of IS militants on Friday as reports of infiltration by the jihadi terrorist group across the country. This condemnation of IS militants by the respected clerics is welcomed, but the qualified statement highlights dangerous double standards toward extremism and militancy that must be addressed.

The PUC statement only addresses one group (IS) and includes the following qualification:

“The PUC appeals to people and youth in Islamic countries to not cooperate with any violent group whose teachings or actions are against the teachings of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).”

The problem with this statement is that it gives a free pass to violent groups who do believe their teachings and actions are in line with Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In other words...all of them.

Freeing Pakistan of the scourge of extremist violence requires a comprehensive, unqualified condemnation of militancy. No exceptions. Until then, qualified condemnations will not only be fruitless, they will continue to provide an ideological justification for terrorists of all stripes.