File photo: 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Pakistan government's claim of having banned the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat (FIF) and of having seized all offices and charities run by these organisations has proven to be false, as video evidence reveals that these charities are very much active.
The charities of the JuD and the FIF, which the United States claims are terrorist fronts, including over 300 seminaries, schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services all across Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
These charities are headed by Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who has been designated a terrorist by the United Nations and had a USD 10 million bounty on him by the U.S. in 2012.
The video evidence shows that these offices of the JuD and the FIF are running in Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Multan, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Muzaffarabad.
Abu Hurraira, a senior JuD functionary based in Bahawalpur, has strongly criticized the government for banning charitable activities and deeni (religious) activities of the JuD and FIF as well as replacing signboards of these organisations with those of Auqaf boards.
He said, "The government has banned on the charitable activities and religious activities of JuD and FIF and replaced signboards with those of Auqaf boards over madrassas, hospitals and schools. Punjab Government officials were saying that as the JuD has been banned by the UN, so they were obliged to obey the instructions of their seniors. The JuD and FIF have been doing relief work in Kashmir and Tharparkar. They are doing service to the humanity and to provide help to common people. The JuD and FIF under its relief activities have recovered ten dead bodies from rivers and also saved several people from drowning".
He added, "FIF people are performing relief activities in such areas where no one dares to go and reaches out first at the place of incident to provide relief and rescue to the affected people. We don't know under whose pressure the government is doing such things against the JuD and FIF. Thousands of people are attached with the JuD, so, there is an apprehension that several people will lose their jobs. They (JuD/FIF) have been told not to conduct their programs and also not to collect funds. As a result, people will remain hungry and start dying due to hunger".
Hurraira blamed the Pakistan government for targeting JuD and FIF and raised questions over its failure to run its own institutions properly. He said, "We were standing behind the downtrodden community. The Government in itself is unable to run its own institutions and wondered how it would manage their (JuD and FIF) schools, hospitals and madrassas".
The boards of the JuD and the FIF have been removed from several places. Masjid Aqsa in Bhawalpur has been taken over by the Auqaf department, the Government of Punjab, whereas FIF's free dispensary at Chakra Road in Rawalpindi has been taken over by the health department of the Punjab government.
In reality, these facilities in Punjab province have been taken over by the government only from outside, as JuD personnel continue to function from inside albeit with a reduced presence.
However, in Sindh and Balochistan, the Pakistan government seems to have taken firm action against the JuD due to local compulsions.
In Sheikhupura, Al Aziz Hospital has been renamed as the Government Al Aziz Hospital and College of Paramedical Sciences, Shaikhupura. The Al Daawa Islamic University has been renamed as Government Islamic University.
The Government of Pakistan has intelligently removed the names of JuD and FIF from these establishments, but they continue to function unharmed.
The JuD has been advised to reduce its activities on the ground, hand over ambulances to government authorities and remove name boards from its premises.
On Friday, Pakistan faced another embarrassment after the global money-laundering watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Islamabad back on its terrorist financing watch list after an interval of nearly three years.
The move could seriously hurt Pakistan's economy.