The government has placed no restrictions on Jamaatud Dawa collecting animal hides after the Eidul Azha sacrifice. The group says it has set up a hundred camps for hide collection in Lahore alone.
Jamaatud Dawa calls itself a charity group and denies having anything to do with militancy, but many of its leaders and workers were formerly part of banned group Lashkar-i-Taiba (LT). The United Nations proscribed JD as a terrorist outfit after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, which are said to have been carried out by LT.
The Interior Ministry on Saturday issued a list of 31 banned organisations, as is traditional before Eidul Azha each year as a reminder that these groups must not be allowed to collect donations in the form of animal hides. The latest list renews the ban on LT, but excludes JD the group was included on the previous such list.
The list included three organisations (Khuddamul Islam, Islami Tehreek and Millat-i-Islamia) that, like the JD, are believed to be old banned outfits operating under new names (Deobandi militant groups Jaish-i-Muhammad and Sipah-i-Sahaba, and Shia outfit Tehrik-i-Jafria Pakistan, respectively).
Shahid, a member of the JD information department, said that the group was operating roughly a hundred camps in Lahore under the name JD or the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). The FIF has also advertised in newspapers for the donation of animal hides. He said the camps had not been disturbed by law enforcement agencies. “I’ve checked with our camps around the country and there has been no harassment by law enforcement agencies,” he said. “We are helping flood victims and running various other charities. We have nothing to do with militant activities.”
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah agreed, saying there was “no justification” for restrictions on JD or FIF from collecting animal hides. “They are not on the list of banned outfits,” he said. “No militant or jihadi organisation is allowed to function or collect hides.”
Allama Zubair Ahmed Zaheer, a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology and a Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan leader, said the government was giving “undue favour” to “some militant organisations”.
“It is clear discrimination,” he said. “It shows that such militant organisations follow the government’s agenda and function with its support. No religious party should have the right to make lashkars or wage so-called jihad. How will the government stop militant groups from functioning when it is giving them a free hand to collect funds?”
Maulana Amjad Ali, a member of Khuddamul Islam, said the inclusion of his group on the list and the JD’s exclusion was discrimination against his “peaceful” organisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2011.
Correction: An earlier version of this article had mentioned the Mumbai attacks to be in November 2009. This is incorrect. The error is regretted.
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