Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) leader Maulana Ameer Hamza says the party has “no plans of entering politics”.
Despite helming a ‘Defence of Pakistan’ forum with religious and political parties on board, Hamza says JuD will not be a part of the political process.
“Politics is very dirty, it’s a business. If we enter politics we will be dirty too,” he told The Express Tribune during an interview at the Jamia al Dirasat Islamia seminary. “Our politicians do all sorts of dirty things under pressure from the US.”
“We see ourselves as being a pressure group that can have an impact on the government’s policy. Even in the Raymond Davis case, we consider it a success on our part that because of our pressure, Davis had to spend days in a Pakistani prison.”
Despite being placed on the United Nations’ consolidated list, the JuD sees no impact of the move or the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, which were allegedly carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), believed to be JuD’s militant wing.
“We did face difficulties but support has increased,” Hamza said, “People have seen that the courts in Pakistan have cleared us and were not able to prove any wrongdoing, and there has been no proof against us in India either. They have also seen the humanitarian work we have done during the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 floods. Pakistanis from all over the country give us funds, including Pakistanis abroad who send money through their relatives.”
When asked about the case against JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, which has been filed in a New York court on behalf of a victim and families of victims of the 26/11 attacks, Hamza says, “This is not a legal case, this is politics. This case has been drummed up by the ‘Indian lobby’.”
He repeatedly refers to the ‘enemies of Pakistan’ – India, Israel and the US – as being responsible for terrorist attacks and claims that their target is the break-up of Pakistan and seizing its nuclear assets. Hamza also denied charges that the JuD is providing training to militants in Kashmir. “We only provide humanitarian assistance,” he says. “Now if someone wants to go take revenge, that’s their call.”
Why the JuD? “I don’t know. The LeT is believed to be doing this.”
And aren’t they one and the same? “No,” Hamza says, smiling. “We’re completely separate. The LeT is one group. There are many others.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2011.