ABC OF JUD
From Markaz Dawat wal Irshad to Jamaat-ud-Dawa, how did Hafiz Saeed invent and reinvent the organisations to claim the centrestage of Pakistani politics
By Arif Jamal
The sudden announcement of US $10 million American bounty for Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Amir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has taken most people by surprise in Pakistan. Some find the announcement of US $2 million bounty for Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki, the head of the international affairs of JuD, even more intriguing.
But many JuD observers had been expecting it for some time.
We understand the US
bounty offer not on Hafiz Saeed’s head but for “information that would
allow his prosecution in a court in the United States or elsewhere” exists
in grey areas. We know that the Pakistani authorities wish to have more
“actionable evidence from the US that can withstand judicial scrutiny to
act against Hafiz Saeed” is murky too.
We realise there is a
catch in it for India also. Should it rejoice on the US bounty offer or
lament because, in effect, the US offer seeks more information to act
against Hafiz Saeed when India claims to have given Pakistan enough evidence
already to try the man.
But Hafiz Saeed and the
organisation he heads do not just matter for India and the US. They are as
much relevant for Pakistan. The Difa-e-Pakistan Council that his group is
leading is effectively trying to control the foreign policy of Pakistan.
Touted and run as a charity, JuD is impacting Pakistan in so many ways that
we think it’s time to capture its history, its structure and working; in
short its involvement with this country in the last twenty five years. Of
course, we have also tried to get a view from across the border about how
the organisation is being seen there.
Today’s Special Report
is therefore about the ABC of JuD because that we believe is bigger than the
person of Hafiz Saeed. It is for the readers to judge whether JuD aims for
dawat, jihad, plain charity, foreign policy or all of them put together. Our
analysts here would go with the last one but we leave it to the readers.
The sudden announcement of
US $10 million American bounty for Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Amir Hafiz Muhammad
Saeed has taken most people by surprise in Pakistan. Some find the
announcement of US $2 million bounty for Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki, the head
of the international affairs of JuD, even more intriguing.
But many JuD observers had
been expecting it for some time.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa or its
jihad wing, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had been on the radars of almost all the
western countries since 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Still more intriguing is the fact that the United States has not announced
any bounty for Maulana Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the amir of the Lashkar-e-Taiba,
an important accused in the Mumbai attacks.
The roots of
Jamaat-ud-Dawa go back to the Afghan jihad by a group of Ahle Hadith
mujahideen and ulema from Pakistan in 1987. As the mujahideen groups were
organised along sectarian lines, the Ahle Hadith mujahdieen’s group, led
by Maulana Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, also decided to found their own group. As
the Ahle Hadith mujahideen were very young, they invited Hafiz Muhammad
Saeed and Maulana Zafar Iqbal to lead the group. Later, the group chose
Hafiz Saeed as its amir. The group was named Markaz Dawat wal Irshad (MDI).
The MDI continued jihad in
Afghanistan where it set up its first training centre.
Being a small group, it
allied itself with the salafist in Nuristan, who had established Dawlat-e
Inqilabi–yi Islami-yi Nuristan, and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa ilal Quran wal
Sunnah, led by Sheikh Jamilur Rehman in Kunar. The MDI mujahideen also
fought alongside Ittehad Islami Afghanistan, led by Shaikh Abdur Rabb
Rassool Sayyaf, for some
The MDI leaders
established lifelong relations with some Salafi Arab fighters in Afghanistan
who provided funds to the MDI during its formative period.
In spite of being a
mujahideen group, the MDI was conceived as a dawati (missionary) group as is
reflected by its name. The MDI leaders do not distinguish between dawat and
jihad, which are considered two sides of the same coin. The founders of the
MDI wanted the group to survive even after the Afghan jihad came to an end.
The group was conceived to wage both armed and peaceful jihad alternately or
at the same time.
As the Afghan jihad came
to an end and the Afghan mujahideen threw themselves at one another’s
throats, the MDI found another front in Kashmir to continue their armed
jihad. In 1990, the MDI formed its armed wing, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to
fight jihad in Kashmir. From now onwards, the MDI was to focus on dawat, or
the peaceful jihad. By the end of 1990s, the LeT emerged as the biggest
jihadi group in the Indian-administered Kashmir. By this time, it had also
established its jihadi infrastructure beyond Kashmir, particularly in India.
However, before it could
storm the world stage, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington
changed the world scene. Like most jihadi groups, the MDI/LeT also went on
the defensive. The terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi
brought unprecedented pressure on Pakistan which decided to ban the group.
However, before the ban
was announced by General Pervez Musharraf on January 11, 2002, the MDI
reinvented itself as Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
Announcing the decision on
December 24, 2001 in Lahore, Hafiz Saeed claimed that JuD and the LeT would
function independently, henceforth, and the operations of the LeT would be
restricted to Kashmir. Hafiz Saeed would function as the amir of the new
group called JuD while Maulana Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi would head the LeT.
In the wake of the 9/11
terrorist attacks in the United States, JuD leadership has proved more
innovative than other jihadi groups in the country. While other jihadi
groups went on warpath with the government on its policy of joining the
US-led coalition, JuD decided not to take on the General Musharraf regime.
Consequently, JuD emerged as the biggest jihadi group in the country. Soon
after reinventing itself as JuD, the group posed itself as a religio-political
party, a la Jamaat-i-Islami. With only jihadi background and no political
background and experience, JuD leaders found it difficult to swim through
the post-9/11 Pakistani politics in the beginning. However, they soon
overcame the hurdles.
Soon after reinventing
itself as JuD, the group gave high priority to welfare projects. Soon
JuD’s Khidmat-e-Khalq department assumed unprecedented importance. So much
so that it came to be known as a charity. When the United States banned both
JuD and the Khidmat-e Khalq, the latter started working under the name of
Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation. JuD’s charitable work earned kudos even from
In the second half of
2000s, JuD stormed Pakistan’s political stage with a populist Islamist
agenda under the name of Tehreek Hurmat-e-Quran (THQ). Tehreek
Hurmat-e-Quran was launched in 2005 after the Newsweek magazine reported
that the US officials had desecrated the Quran at the Guantanamo Bay camp.
JuD gathered some 40 small and big Islamist and secular groups and parties
under the banner of the Tehreek Hurmat-e-Quran (THQ). The THQ held seminars,
conventions and took out public rallies to spread its message.
Soon the publication of
prophet of Islam’s cartoons in a Norwegian publication led to the
formation of another umbrella alliance, Tehreek Hurmat-e-Rasool (THR) on the
model of the THQ. The leadership of both forums remained in the hands of JuD
although bigger and older Islamist parties such as the Jamat-e-Islami and
secular parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are part of these
alliances. Both forums were used to popularise other Islamist themes
including the concept of jihad. The two forums helped JuD not only to
survive in a hostile atmosphere but also become a mainstream party.
In October 2011, JuD
launched the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), an alliance of 40-plus Islamist
and political parties. Although the component parties of the THQ, THR and
DPC overlap, the themes of the DPC are secular and more populist. Since its
formation in October 2011, the DPC has been campaigning against improving
relations with India and against granting India the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN)
status before the resolution of the Kashmir issue. At the same time, the DPC
has been campaigning for closing the NATO supply routes, including the air
The formation of DPC has
been a major boost for JuD. It has brought the organisation at the
centrestage of the Pakistani politics. The secular and liberal sections of
the society, which were not ready to associate themselves with the Islamist
causes like hurmat-e-Quran and Hurmat-e-Rasool, can easily identify
themselves with Islamo-nationalist anti-American and anti-Indian causes. The
success of the DPC is more a symptom of the malaise the Pakistani society
Although JuD has emerged
as a religio-political party, the United States and other western countries
believe that JuD and LeT have maintained very close organisational
relations. Contrary to the popular perception in Pakistan, their belief is
primarily based on dozens of arrests in America and Europe of jihadis who
were arrested in the West. These arrested jihadis have testified that they
were trained at the LeT training camps in Pakistan and the Pakistani Kashmir
where they witness close cooperation between JuD and LeT.
Terrorism experts in
America say the arrested jihadis have testified that the western jihadis are
routinely welcomed by the LeT. The arrests of David Headley and Tahawwur
Rana have also highlighted the roles of Hafiz Saeed and Abdur Rehaman Makki
in the Mumbai attacks in which several US citizens also died.
Finally, the US experts
have reportedly found evidence of Hafiz Saeed’s and Abdur Rehman Makki’s
close links with al-Qaeda in the material the US Navy Seals brought from the
hideout of Osama Bin Laden.
The US officials believe
the growing evidence against Hafiz Saeed and Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki makes
it worth their while to pursue cases against them. No US government can stop
pursuing somebody who is accused of killing US citizens, no matter how high
the price is. If the Americans had wanted to please the Indians, as is
alleged by some Pakistanis, they would have included the names of Maulana
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as well. The Unites States does not
relent their efforts with the passage of time.
It may take years or even
decades. The United States is going to pursue Hafiz Saeed and Abdur Rehman
Makki till they capture them or they die. There is no third option for the
writer is a US-based journalist and author of ‘Shadow War – The Untold
Story of Jihad in Kashmir’
The news that the US had put the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed on its ‘most wanted list’ and placed a $10 million bounty on him was greeted with a mix of exultation and cynicism in India.
At one level, this move was seen as a vindication of what India had been shouting from the rooftops for years. More importantly, it was the first significant step in the direction of bringing Saeed to justice for the acts of terrorism he is alleged to have spawned in India and other parts of the world. With the US finally weighing in on India’s side on this issue, there is a feeling in India that the noose is tightening around Saeed’s neck and he won’t be able to peddle his murderous trade for very long. Many in India believe that where India has tried for long and so far failed to pressure Pakistan into taking action against the man who has emerged as a symbol of jihadist terror, the US will probably fare much better.
Even before the initial flush of expectation had died, the cynics took over to sound a reality check. Although the cynics welcomed the US move, they were not entirely convinced about US motives. There was a realisation that the bounty on Saeed and his sidekick Abdul Rehman Makki had less to do with the terror plots they are believed to have hatched against India and more to do with the dynamics of US-Pakistan relations. It wasn’t as though Indian analysts were not aware that the US was probably using the ‘India card’ against Pakistan — a very handy card used to concentrate the Pakistani minds on the US demands and requirements and the pitfalls of defying the ‘sole superpower’. The use of this card by the Americans was, however, taken in their stride by most Indians.
Seen through the Indian prism, like in the case of the conviction of Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Kashmiri lobbyist who was on the ISI payroll, the US action against these two JuD/LeT head honchos was a fringe benefit or, if you will, a positive externality that came India’s way. To the extent that both India and the US benefitted from the move, there was really no reason to complain. After all, with Saeed and Makki coming in US crosshairs, it is expected, nay hoped, that Pakistan would come under much greater pressure to at least shut their shop, even if it was reluctant to shut them up behind bars, and as such the US move deserved to be applauded.
Questions were raised in India about both the manner in which the bounty was placed on Saeed — it was clearly done hastily because the initial posting on the Rewards for Justice website termed JuD/LeT a “radical Deobandi terrorist organisation” — as also the very act of placing a bounty on a person who strutted about openly in the cities and towns of Pakistan with complete impunity, peddling his hate-filled venom and inciting people to violence against India and US. The timing of the move also raised some eyebrows, coming as it did virtually on the eve of President Asif Zardari’s one-day visit and threatening to overshadow the nice optics expected from Mr Zardari’s meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.
The explanation offered by the Americans that the bounty was offered for obtaining information that would lead to Saeed’s arrest did seem a little odd at first. On the face of it, placing someone on the ‘most wanted list’ of terrorists without his having been convicted and even without any convincing evidence against him that would stand in a court of law is certainly quite out of the ordinary. But look at it from another angle, and the US explanation isn’t so absurd.
That Saeed and Makki are involved in terrorism is well-known, only the evidence that will clinch the case against them is missing. With this generous bounty being announced to procure the necessary evidence, many people, whether in the government or in LeT/JuD, will be tempted to provide it, something that will make it difficult for Pakistan to continue to use the alibi of an independent judiciary to avoid taking action against Saeed, Makki and others of their ilk.
An even more potent threat for Pakistan will be if the US dusts the UN sanctions against Saeed and JuD (which have so far been flouted by Pakistan) to tighten the screws further. While it might be a long shot at this stage, this could well be the first step in declaring Pakistan a terrorism sponsoring nation if it continues to defy the West and blocks the ISAF/NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.
As India sees it, Saeed poses a grave dilemma for Pakistan. Although the former foreign secretary of India called him ‘an inconsequential person’ in order to kick-start the peace process with Pakistan, the fact of the matter is that he is probably the most important man in Pakistan today, almost a symbol of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Polemical though it may sound, when you juxtapose the treatment meted out by the Courts to President Asif Zardari against the manner in which Saeed is treated, it is quite clear who is the symbol of the Federation.
The exalted status enjoyed by Saeed — virtually that of a national icon and a ‘strategic asset’ around whom a bipartisan consensus exists not only in Pakistan’s parliament, but also among the public and the media — will make it very difficult for the authorities in Pakistan to take any meaningful action against him.
These then are the wages of the extremely flawed policy of using non-state actors as instruments for achieving foreign policy objectives. It is precisely this policy that Pakistan needs to extirpate if it wants to re-emerge as a modern, moderate and normal state which is at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbours. And, for this to happen, Pakistan needs to act against people like Saeed and the other disreputable characters and organisations who have collected under the umbrella of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and who are not only tearing Pakistan’s already sullied international image to shreds but are actually also weakening Pakistan’s defence instead of strengthening it.
writer is a Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation and
Consultant, Pakistan Project, IDSA
In a press conference on December 24, 2001, a few months after 9/11, Hafiz Saeed announced his resignation from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the following words: “I will now lead an Islamic charity organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa!” He has been the undisputed, supreme leader of JuD since. On the other hand, Saeed also appointed a lesser known Maulana Abdul Wahid Kashmiri as LeT’s new leader.
“If you understand their ideology, it will be very tough for you to separate the two,” says a former JuD activist on condition of anonymity. He goes on to add that [as per JuD and LeT] Islam advocates both “dawa” (preaching) and “jihad” as equally important tasks for a Muslim and no one can prefer one over the other.
Explaining the structure of JuD, he says, “First of all, you need to understand the concept of ‘amir’ (supreme leader) in Islam. JuD’s amir is not like that of Jamaat-e-Islami who is elected and has a strong ‘shura’ (supreme council) backing him. He is all-powerful and there is nobody to challenge his authority. He appoints members of the shura as well as the heads of different departments. There is no concept of elections in JuD as it’s not considered Islamic. The amir must be obeyed. One who falls out of the amir’s favour is reduced to nobody in the organisation.”
The source also reveals that Saeed has “placed many of his close relatives in top positions [of the organisation] in order to ensure complete control.”
The organisation has its presence in almost all districts of the country. However, interestingly, despite the UN Security Council declaring it the ‘front’ of LeT, the US State Department calling it a terrorist outfit and placing it on the terror watch list of the Pakistani government, JuD enjoys a considerable amount of freedom in running its operations and raising funds. Its chief departments include Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), Dawa, education, finance, external affairs, political affairs, construction of mosques and madrassas, media and propagation, Darul Andalus (related to publishing), social welfare, a deaf-and-mute’s wing, the doctors’ wing, the teachers’ wing, the farmers and workers section, the students’ wing and that of the women.
“All department heads are appointed directly by the amir of JuD [Hafiz Saeed],” says Hafiz Khalid Waleed, a close relation and political advisor to Saeed. He laughs off the question of election within the organisation. “There is a shura of 20-25 people but the last word is by Hafiz saheb. He appoints and removes members of shura.”
Waleed says that the mainstay of the organisation is “to serve humanity through FIF.”
The foundation has its charity operations in almost all parts of the country. They include five hospitals, 126 dispensaries, 152 blood donor societies, 139 ambulances in 73 cities of the country, 140 schools, 40 madrassas and three colleges. More than 60,000 students are enrolled in the educational institutions of the organistaion.
The organisation also has specialised workings in the event of a natural calamity. “We’ve served humanity since 1992, but our services during the 2003 Badin floods and the 2005 earthquake especially put us on the national and international map,” says Hafiz Abdur Rauf, head of FIF. “We also sent assistance to Iran after its 2004 earthquake and to tsunami-hit countries. So far we have provided food and shelter to hundreds of thousands of affected people. We set up 123 relief camps during the 2010 flash floods, provided food to over 2.7 million people and medical assistance to 0.5 million. We are the main organisation to have served the IDPs.
“Providing drinking water to the backward areas of Sindh and Balochistan has been among our most celebrated projects,” Rauf claims. “We have dug hundreds of wells and installed hand pumps. More than 50 percent benefactors of our drinking water schemes in Sindh province are Hindus.”
He reveals that the annual budget of the various FIF projects amounts to millions of rupees. “Our operations are run cent per cent on donations. Traders and Pakistanis living abroad are our major donors.”
In response to a query, Rauf says the FIF schools and hospitals do not serve only a particular sect of Islam. “Although a majority of JuD workers are Wahabis, we do not deny our services to anyone outside of the sect.
“Last year alone, our hospitals got more than 12,000 patients on an average per month, whereas we have so far set up 2,985 free medical camps which can treat over 1.7 million patients.”
Rauf says JuD does not target Hindus or other minorities with a purpose. “We do not preach our agenda but if somebody comes to us and is inspired to embrace Islam, we encourage them.
“JuD is an organisation that wants to see Islam being implemented in its true spirit.”
At the other end, experts believe, JuD targets minorities, especially Hindus, just to show the world that it is not anti-Hindu as against popular perception in India and the West. Muhammad Amir Rana, a security and political analyst and the director of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), believes that JuD was fashioned after the JI model as its leadership including Hafiz Saeed and Professor Zafar had earlier served the Jamaat. “Both Hafiz Saeed and Abdul Rehman Makki were educated in Saudi Arabia, so they had no financial contraints when they launched JuD in early 2000s or Markaz al-Dawa-wal-Irshad (Centre for Preaching and Guidance) in mid-1980s. Presently, the organisation has more than 300 offices, mosques and madrassas across the country. It has also set up commercial ventures including English-medium schools, colleges, residential projects, media groups and transportation companies. It has the second largest charity network in Pakistan.”
According to Rana, JuD is following a pattern similar to that of Hezbollah and Hamas. “All big Islamic militant organisations have huge charity networks. They need to have them in order to legitimise their existence.”
In the beginning, JuD’s ideological discourse was built on the extremely narrow sectarian agenda of spreading hatred against Shia and Barelvi communities: “It is reflected in its earlier publications but over the years it has become accommodating of other sects. This approach helped not only JuD but also the Wahabi school of thought which gained prominence in public and religious discourses in Pakistan,” says Rana.
“JuD has now shifted its focus to minorities like Hindus and Christians because it is easy to influence them.”
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite being declared a ‘most wanted terrorist’ by the United States with a 10 million dollars bounty for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) ameer Prof Hafiz Mohammad Saeed keeps moving freely across Pakistan without any check, primarily because the all-powerful military and intelligence establishment is in no mood to proceed against him.
This can well be gauged from the foreign office spokesman’s April 5 statement that the Pakistan government would prefer concrete evidence [from the United States] against the man [Hafiz Saeed] than to engage in a public discussion on the matter. Foreign office spokesperson Abdul Basit’s statement explains the intentions of an elected government — to rubber stamp the establishment’s strategy of keeping the jihadi option alive as a preferred instrument of foreign policy.
Without even waiting for Islamabad’s reaction over the US bounty announcement, Hafiz Saeed, one of the most wanted men in India and the US, addressed a press conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on April 4, a day before the foreign office statement was issued, and dared the US to carry out a military raid against him like the one that killed Osama bin Laden. The 62-year-old former professor of Islamic Studies, who used to teach at the state-run University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore till 1988 before launching the Lashkar-e-Taiba, simply shrugged off the American action against him.
Taunting the US to give him the head money offered for information leading to his arrest under the Rewards for Justice Programme, Saeed said: “I am not hiding in caves and mountains, I am here in Rawalpindi. If the United States wants to contact me, I am present here… I am also ready to face any US court, or wherever there is proof against me or my group’s involvement in terrorist activities”, said Hafiz Saeed, who makes regular public appearances to address public rallies and Friday congregations.
Saeed then mocked the US decision to offer a bounty for someone who lives so openly in Pakistan. “Americans seriously lack information. Don’t they know where I go and where I live and what I do?” he said. “These rewards are usually announced for people who are hiding in mountains or caves. I wish the Americans would give this reward money to me.”
As JuD chief made fun of Washington, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner sought to clarify the reward for Saeed, saying that Washington was offering money not for his capture but for information that would allow his prosecution in a court in the United States or elsewhere. “We all know where he is — you know, every journalist in Pakistan and in the region knows how to find him —but we are looking for information that can be usable to convict him in a court of law,” Toner said at a briefing in Washington on April 5.
On the other hand, well-placed interior ministry officials in Islamabad say, to act against Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistani authorities need to have watertight actionable evidence from the US that can withstand judicial scrutiny, adding that a respectable Pakistani national can’t be prosecuted on the basis of hearsay and that too just to please someone in Delhi. Citing a May 12, 2009, diplomatic cable sent by then US Ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson to her bosses in the US State Department about the 26/11 terror attacks in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai, the interior ministry officials said the Americans had already rubbished India’s case involving the LeT and the ISI’s top leadership in the 2008 episode.
Wikileaks quoted Anne Patterson as writing to US State Department in a diplomatic cable that India had presented insufficient evidence to Pakistan against the LeT leadership. Patterson had mentioned that Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had insufficient evidence for prosecution against senior LeT leaders like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Mazhar Iqbal. Patterson even said that the FIA was forced, as a result of political pressure, to arrest and charge the three LeT leaders and that the FIA was still without solid evidence to begin a formal trial of those charged with the 26/11 attacks.
In a latest development, however, the Indian authorities have claimed having provided solid evidence to Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed which includes the statement of Ajmal Kasab — the lone surviving gunman in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks — saying that “Hafiz Saeed was present during the selection and training of the terrorists who had carried out the assault”. Similarly, the statements of David Headley, a Pakistani-American involved in the Mumbai attacks and already being tried by a Chicago court on terrorism charges, have also been provided to the Pakistani authorities wherein he has narrated the role Hafiz Saeed allegedly played in the Mumbai attacks.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has already stated recently that the interior secretaries of India and Pakistan would be sharing intelligence about Hafiz Saeed on April 16, on the basis of which, any further action could be taken.
Nevertheless, if the past is any indication, the Pakistan government is unlikely to take any action either against Saeed or against his enormous jihadi network. This is mainly because of the tacit backing and patronage of establishment that has led the Saeed-led LeT/JuD to become the most effective jihadi organisation operating in the Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir and expanding its agenda beyond India.
Jail, house-arrest, release, jail, house-arrest…
Each time Saeed has been tried and released since 2001
To be honest, each time Saeed had been arrested and tried since 2001, he was acquitted by the Lahore High Court for lack of evidence. He was first detained on December 21, 2001, after being accused of planning the December 13, 2001, terror attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. Hafiz Saeed was kept behind bars for almost 100 days and eventually released on March 31, 2002 in compliance with the orders of the Lahore High Court. But he was once again arrested on May 15, 2002, only to be placed under house arrest after being freed on October 31, 2002, in a bid to stop him from resorting to a public activity.
Following the Mumbai train bombings on July 11, 2006, the Pakistan government again detained Hafiz Saeed on August 9, 2006, and kept him under house arrest for almost two weeks. But he had to be released on August 28, 2006, in the wake of a Lahore High Court order. He was arrested the same day under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and released after almost 50 days on October 17, 2006— once again in the wake of the Lahore High Court orders.
After the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India submitted a formal request to the UN Security Council to put Hafiz Saeed and hisJamaat-ud-Dawa on the list of individuals and organisations sanctioned by the United Nations for association with terrorism. On 11 December 2008, Saeed was again placed under house arrest when the United Nations declared JuD to be a front for LeT which had already been declared a terrorist group. Saeed was held in house arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order, which allows authorities to detain temporarily individuals who are deemed likely to create disorder, until the first week of June 2009 when the Lahore High Court ordered his release while deeming the containment to be unconstitutional.
As India expressed its disappointment with the decision, the Pakistan government filed an appeal against the court order on July 6, 2009, maintaining that Saeed at liberty is a security threat. As the government’s appeal was yet to be decided, the Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against Hafiz Saeed on August 25, 2009, along with Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, in response to Indian requests for his extradition. Saeed was subsequently placed under house arrest in September 2009. But the Lahore High Court quashed all cases against Saeed on October 12, 2009, and set him free, declaring in its verdict that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa was not a banned organisation and can work freely in Pakistan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, one of two judges hearing the case, observed in the judgment: “We cannot brutalise the law in the name of terrorism.”
After his release, Hafiz Saeed stayed out of the public eyes for almost a year, before reactivating himself in 2011 from the platform of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), believed to be an establishment-backed dummy alliance of religious parties aligned with the jihadi non-state actors.
As the US bounty is expected to put more pressure on Pakistan to deal determinedly with Hafiz Saeed and his jihadi network, the only way forward would be to make a solid case against him that holds up to judicial scrutiny in the court of law this time, unlike in the past.
— Amir Mir
Jamaat-ud-Dawa claims the deaf and mute also have a right to wage jihad against India, America and Israel. No wonder the organisation has instituted training camps for its members with sight and hearing impairment, most of them young. Presently, the number of these members runs into thousands. There are 1,500 in Lahore alone that regularly attend JuD resource persons’ lectures in which they are taught about society and religion.
“We invite them to Islam and teach them the Islamic way of living,” says a resource person at one such training camp, requesting anonymity.
Haji Ather Aziz, an old man based in Daska, lost his hearing due to a medical condition in early 1980s. Later, he went to Saudi Arabia where he enrolled for a three-year course (for the deaf and mute) in religious studies. Upon his return to Pakistan, he met with Hafiz Saeed, the ameer of JuD, in a conference in Gujranwala district where the latter had invited him to formally join his group and launch the Deaf Wing of JuD.
Haji Ather agreed readily and went on to develop a short study course covering the basic tenets of Islam. “We also teach them the Islamic way of living and how to respect parents and live as a peaceful member of the society,” he says.
Today, JuD has its Deaf Wing camps in Lahore, Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Daska, Siakot, Multan, Bahawalpur, Vehari and other districts and towns of the country. They have employed 300 resource persons who are ready to teach and train the deaf and dumb 24/7.
“We are developing a full module which includes Islam’s basic teachings and tells people how to say prayers in their own language; this will also be printed in a booklet soon,” the resource person says.
“They [deaf and mute] are happy to join us and they want to be active members of JuD,” adds another person. “They take part in protest rallies against India and America. They were instrumental in our campaign against the blasphemous cartoons and, more recently, have been protesting the bounty placed on Hafiz Saeed.”
JuD also teaches these disabled youth the affairs of the world in general and Pakistan in particular. “They have a fair idea what is happening in Kashmir, Palestine and what is the role of India, America and Israel in these issues,” he says.
“They are an emotional lot and ever ready to pick Kalashnikovs and fight the enemies of Islam. When they came to know about the violence perpetrated on Kashmiri Muslims they said that the government had turned deaf and dumb. They want to fight the Indian army.”
The insider also talks of a rather inactive women’s wing in the training camp for the deaf and mute. Though, meetings and gatherings are arranged for them, they aren’t regular.
“The state’s role is missing when it comes to neglected communities which become victim of such groups and organisations,” says Muhammad Amir Rana, executive director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS).
Rana says this is true not just of JuD but also a lot of other so-called charity and religious organisations that engage vulnerable elements in the society and make them a part of their agenda.
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JuD’s publishing house
“Why women will be in majority in Hell?”, “Un-Islamic festivities — a way to spread obscenity”, “Hindu-origin customs and traditions among Muslims”, “A Kashmiri woman & America”, “In defence of Jihad” and “Punishment of a blasphemer” are some of the books that lie prominently on the racks of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s Lahore centre. These are printed by Darul Andlus (or House of Spain), a huge publishing setup of the organisation.
The fact that Darul Andlus is named after Spain, the centre of Islamic learning, is an instant reminder of JuD’s mission statement. “It shows that we want to touch similar heights of knowledge,” says a JuD official, requesting anonymity.
The research and publishing wing of JuD prints books as well as pamphlets, decrees (fatwas) and other religious content as per its agenda and also produces periodicals to motivate people to their brand of Islam and jihad.
“India becoming a sandwich”, Palestine, we are coming!”, “Chasing Russia from Torkham to Kohkaf”, “Women & Europe” and “What I saw in Khomeni and Kamal Ata Turk’s Iran and Turkey” are some of Darul Andlus’s bestsellers and they famously rate the abovementioned countries as drifting from ‘true’ Islam. Yet another publication regards visiting non Muslim countries as ‘haram’, as it “has a bad impact on the beliefs and ethics [of Muslims]… Different tourism organisations of the world try to lure young Muslims to their glamour and away from religion.”
— Waqar Gillani
Schooled into the
JuD is currently running a chain of schools called Dawa School System whose curriculum is in consonance with the syllabus set by the Punjab Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and other government boards across Pakistan with additional courses and programmes deemed ‘useful’ for the ‘moral development’ of the students.
This curriculum revolves around the achievement of three basic objectives: acquisition of knowledge, improvement of skills and development of attitude in an Islamic setup.
According to an official document, the purpose is “To educate the youth to become citizens of the world in accordance with the Islamic teachings, they are offered contemporary school subjects side by side with Islamic studies so that they become useful members of society and are able to practice their faith while also practising their professions as doctors, engineers, administrators, writers or scientists.”
The current number of schools under the Dawa System is 150 which was 50 at the close of the year 2000. Over 2,000 teachers are working in these schools today, compared to 2000’s 935. The number of students has also increased from 18,000 to 33,000 at present.
— W. Gillani
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