Wikileaks: Saudi Arabia, UAE funded extremist networks in Pakistan

Saudi foreign ministry says it will not comment on Wikileaks report as it is "not sure about its authenticity."


Reuters May 22, 2011

Charities from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates financed a network in Pakistan that recruited children as young as eight to wage "holy war", a local newspaper reported on Sunday, citing Wikileaks.

A US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks said financial support estimated at $100 million a year was making its way from those Gulf Arab states to an extremist recruitment network in Pakistan's Punjab province, Dawn newspaper reported.

Asked to respond to the report, Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said: "Saudi Arabia issued a statement from day one that we are not going to comment on any WikiLeaks reports because Saudi Arabia is not responsible for these reports and we are not sure about their authenticity."

The November 2008 dispatch by Bryan Hunt, the then principal officer at the US consulate in Lahore, was based on discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during trips to Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province.

It said those sources claimed that financial aid from Saudi and United Arab Emirates was coming from "missionary" and"Islamic charitable" organisations ostensibly with the direct support of those countries' governments.

Saudi Arabia, the United States and Pakistan heavily supported the Afghan mujahideen against Soviet occupation troops in the 1980s. Militancy subsequently mushroomed in the region and militants moved to Pakistan's northwest tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, seen as a global hub for militants.

Since then there has been a growing nexus between militant groups there and in Punjab. In recent years militants have been carrying out suicide bombings seemingly at will in Pakistan, despite military offensives against their strongholds.

Children sent to training camps

But militancy is deeply rooted in Pakistan. In order to eradicate it, analysts say, the government must improve economic conditions to prevent militants from recruiting young men disillusioned with the state.

The network in Punjab reportedly exploited worsening poverty to indoctrinate children and ultimately send them to training camps, said the cable.

Saudi Arabia is seen as funding some of Pakistan's hardline religious seminaries, or madrassas, which churn out young men eager for "holy war", posing a threat to the stability of the region.

"At these madrassas, children are denied contact with the outside world and taught sectarian extremism, hatred for non-Muslims, and anti-Western/anti-Pakistan government philosophy," said the cable.

It described how "families with multiple children" and"severe financial difficulties" were being exploited and recruited, Dawn reported.

"The path following recruitment depends upon the age of the child involved. Younger children (between 8 and 12) seem to be favoured," said the cable.

Teachers in seminaries would assess the inclination of children "to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture".

"The initial success of establishing madrassas and mosques in these areas led to subsequent annual "donations" to these same clerics, originating in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," the cable stated.

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COMMENTS (77)

Saeed Khalid | 9 years ago | Reply The birth of Wahabbiism and its support was a master stroke of the British brains to capture the focal points of the Muslim faith. With the birth place of Islam under its thumb through the illegitimate and morally fragile House of Saud the British dismembered the Ottoman empire and the muslims were further divided into states and groups. The Saudi King's declaration of being the servant of Harmain is just a ploy to deny the places to their rightful caretakers from the Prophet(PBUH)'s family. The Saudi kings are scrared of the moral threat of the Prophet's family and its impact on their rule which will sooner or later end. Hence all the persecution of Shias in Saudi Arabia and elimination of the Syeds and all the effort to export anti shia ideology in neutral countries like Pakistan. To me there are only two sects in Islam: those who love the Prophet and his family as ordained by Allah are one and those who hate them in their heart are the other. There is no other basis of division because rest all is semantics. Saudis are haters of Prophet's family and the Prophet has said " If you want to identify Munafiqeen take the name of Ali in the gathering and the one to get a frown on his brown is surely a munafiq."
mahadev | 9 years ago | Reply @Naushad Shafkat: Pakistani media is "Koopi Baaz". It will never wake up. Shanker
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