Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud Dawa at it again, changes name to beat ban


ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: In a familiar trick, the banned Jamaat-ud Dawa looks set to evade the “crackdown” on it and its chief Hafiz Saeed by resurfacing as Tehreek Azadi Jammu and Kashmir, a platform purportedly wedded to the Kashmiri cause. TAJK will organise events in support of jihad in Kashmir on February 5, observed as “Kashmir Day” in Pakistan, in apparent defiance of a ban on JuD’s activities and the “house arrest” of Saeed.

Just days after Pakistan announced action against JuD — with the Army saying that the action was in national interest — the organisation appears to have reinvented itself. JuD is linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for 26/11 and several other terror attacks in India.The resurfacing of banned outfits under new pseudonyms is a common practice in Pakistan and the government has not made any worthwhile effort to keep a lid on such groups that challenge the state’s authority or, in the case of JuD, act in close concert with army and ISI.

The development will raise doubts about the action against Hafiz Saeed, a valued ally of the Pakistani army in its proxy operations in J&K. India has insisted that Pakistan needed to take credible action against Saeed and act on evidence linking him to the 26/11 attacks. The new nameplate will also raise questions whether US pressure — and Donald Trump’s election win — was the prompt for the action against Saeed and JuD was a cosmetic gesture.Though, still on the watch list, JuD has resumed its activities. Its “donation” camps and ambulance centres across Lahore and districts have restarted under banners calling for the independence of “Indian-administered Kashmir”. JuD-run madrassas are a source of fidayeen while cash collected as charities supplement AJK funds meant to train jihadis and carry out missions in India.

Promising to challenge the government’s move in court, JuD and Falah-e- Insaaniyat Foundation (FIF) have started activities under TAJK. TAJK banners have been displayed in Lahore at Shahdara Chowk, Moon Market and Iqbal Town. After LeT was banned in 2002, the group and Saeed were able to reinvent themselves under the banner of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Jaish-e- Muhammed was also banned on 2002. It did not take long for the group to resurface under the new name of Khuddam-ul-Islam.Omer Farooq Khan|courtesy Times of India