Taking advantage of the global outreach of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, the controversial charity Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) sent out an appeal on its official Twitter account asking people to donate Zakat and Fitrah for the Holy month of Ramazan.
India has blamed JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed for masterminding the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Taking cue from New Delhi, the United States also announced bounty for information leading to the prosecution and conviction of Hafiz Saeed.
Through its Twitter account, the JuD appealed to its 2,186 followers for donations for itself and for its welfare arm, the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation Pakistan (FIFP).
The FIFP appeal was also made from the Twitter account of JuD, which has been under sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.
The message on Twitter, which was also posted on its Facebook page, appealed for Zakat in any form, either by cash, donating an ambulance or sponsoring medicines or meals for Sehri and Iftar.
Recently, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik denied any banned outfit was raising funds and had vowed to stop if any proscribed group was found collecting money.
The JuD says that since it is not banned in Pakistan, it can collect funds.
“Everyone knows that when the UNSC slapped sanctions on Jamaatud Dawa, we moved the Lahore High Court against it – which ruled in our favour,” said Khalid Waleed, chief coordinator of JuD’s political cell, which is headed by Abdur Rehman Makki.
“Look at the charity work we do. All this needs money. We feed the poor during the month of Ramazan at 100 places in Lahore alone. We have provided ambulances to every Tehsil hospital in Punjab,” Waleed added.
However, he could not explain why the JuD was collecting funds in the name of Falah-e-Insaniat. “They are just two different heads of the accounts. If someone wants to donate to either the JuD or Falah, we welcome it,” he said.
The Punjab government, on the other hand, said it was for the federal government to monitor the activities of the organisation.
“The Lahore High Court has cleared the JuD as a legitimate charitable network, so under what law can Prime Minister arrest its members?” said Senator Pervez Rashid, an adviser to the Punjab government.
“If they are on Twitter or Facebook, it is again the responsibility of the federal government to hold them accountable, as internet laws are under their jurisdiction,” Rashid stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.