ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) spokesperson Fauzia Wahab has accused the Punjab government of not only ignoring the banned outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s (JuD) regrouping but of helping the organisation reestablish itself.
“It is unfortunate that an organisation banned by the UN as well as the Pakistan government is again active in Punjab. I condemn it,” said Wahab.
She was speaking to the assembly on a point of order.
JuD, which is an offshoot of the defunct Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was banned by the UN and subsequently by Pakistani authorities after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.
After maintaining a low-profile for six months, the JuD restarted its operations in May 2009 under the name of Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation by helping those displaced by the Swat operation.
However, the organisation is again functioning under its original name in flood-hit areas. While most of its activities are centred in the Punjab, it is also present in Sindh and Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa.
A spokesperson for the JuD, Yaya Mujahid, contested Wahab’s assertion that it was banned by the Pakistan government. Speaking to The Express Tribune from Lahore, he said that the organisation is a humanitarian group and was not involved in violence. “We fought a legal battle and there is no ban on us anymore…as far as the UN is concerned, we are already into an appeal,” claimed Mujahid.
High treason cases
In addition, the government allowed the introduction of a bill in the National Assembly by a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member aimed at allowing ordinary countrymen to file high treason cases in high courts.
The bill came amid claims by former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf that he is planning to return to the country to lead his own political party.
According to a 1973 act, only the federal government can initiate a high treason case.
Law Minister Dr Babar Awan argued that there are several provisions in the Pakistan Penal Code under which anybody can initiate criminal proceedings against the violators of the Constitution. However, he added that “If the PML-N initiates such a case against Musharraf, we will support it.”
The bill was referred to the house committee for a debate.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2010.