By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam
28 June, 2014
The US Home Department has declared Jamat-ud-Dawah and three other organisations affiliated to it as terrorist organisations but it is surprising that such an important news as this is conspicuously absent from Pakistani media. It would be premature to say whether the US will put pressure on Pakistan to ban these organisations but it is a matter of fact that in the eyes of the US, Jamat-ud-Dawah can become a constant threat in future. The founder leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Nazeer Ahmad Choudhary and Muhammad Hussain Gul, have also been included among the terrorists. The US State Department claims that the other organisations affiliated to Jamat-ud-Dawah are in fact different names of Jamat-ud-Dawah which is present behind the curtain of these names. It has also been disclosed that Jamat-ud-Dawah was also involved in the attack on Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan.
It should be noted that earlier, the head of Jamat-ud-Dawah, Hafiz Sayeed and Abdul Rahman Makki had been declared terrorists and a bounty was announced on their heads. Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed and Abdul Rahman Makki who are relatives rejected the announcement. They have continued their organisational activities in Pakistan. They termed this announcement as the outcome of the alliance of the US, India and Israel who, according to him, are the biggest enemies of Islam and cannot tolerate Islamic Jihadi and welfare organisations. Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed alleges that the recent step of the US has been taken at the behest of India. The reason for this is India’s fear as it was earlier afraid of Lashkar-e-Taiba and now Jamat-ud-Dawah is a nightmare for it. The other three organisations associated with Jamat-ud-Dawah are Anfal Trust, Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasul and Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Qibla-e-Awwal.
The general opinion about the religious organisations in Pakistan is that they enjoy the patronage of Pakistan army. There is no denying that in the first phase of Afghan jihad, many parts of the country, particularly, Khaibar Pakhtunkhwa served as the recruitment centres and with American resources, our religious organisations were made so influential that they could promote the concept of Jihad in Afghanistan. Then we saw how jihadi nurseries sprouted in every nook and corner of the country. Was Jihad in Afghanistan valid at the time when Russia attacked Afghanistan or was it after that when the Afghan Sardars fought each other for supremacy or when students studying in madrasas took up weapons and were named Taliban? Or did the real Afghan jihad started when NATO attacked Afghanistan under the pretext that the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda had established powerful bases in Afghanistan.
As for the Jihadi organisation of Jamat-ud-Dawah, it was initially formed for jihad in Kashmir and during the strife in Kashmir, thousands of fighters of Lashkar-e-Taiba fought Indian forces which brought the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue and the nature of the dispute between the two countries to prominence. In Pakistan Lashkar-e-Taiba got special appreciation when two professors of Lahore Engineering University, Prof. Hafiz Sayeed and Prof. Zafar Iqbal contacted donors in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to establish an educational centre called Markaz-ud-Dawah wal Irshad. The tense situation between India and Pakistan also proved beneficial for this and in a very short period of time, a powerful organisation and a religious madrasa came into existence. The 90s brought good tidings for it and the organisation was established at a wide expanse in a village called Nangal Sahdan near Muridke. It should be mentioned that Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed and his colleague Ameer Hamza had established strong rapport with the prominent Salafi Mujahid Sheikh Jamil ur Rahman of Kannad and Nuristan during the Afghan Jihad. Though during this period, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar was the cynosure of Pakistan’s policymakers and Sheikh Jamil ur Rahman was at loggerheads with him, still Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed succeeded in establishing a powerful organisation that could draw the attention of Pakistan’s policy makers. Later on, this organisation became the centre for the Jihadi organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to the books and magazines of Lashkar-e-Taiba, it has till now killed thousands of Indian forces in Kashmir from the year 1999 to 2008. Now, Lashkar-e-Taiba is a banned organisation in Pakistan and Hafiz announced his detachment with it after Mumbai attacks. He is the head of Jamat-ud-Dawah. The Pakistan government tried to ban the organisation but the courts adjudicated in its favour.
After that, the US Home Department declared Hafiz Sayeed and his close aide Abdul Rahman Makki terrorists and announced a bounty on their heads but Hafiz Sayeed and Abdul Rahman Makki did not accept its decision. At the same time, the Pakistan government also did not agree to this decision. So Hafiz Sayeed and Abdul Rahman Makki could not be arrested even after this announcement. Jamat-ud-Dawah and its leadership are again the target. Jamat-ud-Dawah’s leadership has termed this decision as a step taken at the behest of India. The hard-line party BJP has a tough stance on the issue and it reflects what postures the Indian government will take vis a vis the Kashmiri Jihadi outfits, especially the cadre of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in future. On the other hand, the US government has also alleged that Jamat-ud-Dawah has constantly targetted American interests in Afghanistan. The attack on Indian consulate in Heart is blamed on Jamat-ud-Dawah. This shows that sensitivity towards the Jihadi organisations of Jamat-ud-Dawah is growing once again and the possibility of tensions in South Asia has also grown. If the American pressure on Pakistan government rises in terms of ban on Jamat-ud-Dawah, there is every possibility that it will also increase tensions inside the country which are already high. There is no doubt that the days will be difficult in future.
The author of nine books including the recent "Punjabi Taliban", Mujahid Hussain writes a regular weekly column for New Age Islam. He is also Chief of New Age Islam Brussels Bureau. He has been contributing to leading papers as an investigative journalist for about two decades. His writings cover a vast panorama of topics concerning political and societal existence of Pakistan, a nation passing through difficult straits since a short time after its birth. With terrorism and security issues at local, regional, and global levels as his special area of study in recent years, Mujahid Hussain has earned a sizable readership in serious circles in Pakistan and abroad. Follower of an independent, non-partisan, and objective way of thinking, the author offers honest analysis of the challenges threatening communities, nations, and humanity at large.