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US ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a huge blow to Pakistan

By Vicky Nanjappa
June 27, 2014 12:10 IST
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The recent sanctions imposed by the US on Lashkar front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa completely expose Pakistan that has consistently maintained that the JuD is a charity organisation. The ban will also limit donations to the JuD, a major chunk of which is pumped into terror funds. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

India may never be able to get its hands on Lashkar-e-Tayiba front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the 26/11 terror attacks, but it is now our best chance to break his financial network.

The recent sanctions imposed by the United States of America on the JuD in the wake of its allegations that the LeT carried out the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, is considered to be much better than the one imposed on the terror outfit a couple of years back.

The US sanctions have re-established the fact that the JuD is the financial wing of the LeT, completely debunking the Pakistani stand that the former is a charity organisation that helps carry out relief activities.

The JuD receives millions of dollars as donations and while a part of it goes for relief operations, a major chunk is pumped into terror funds, and is largely unaccounted for.

The money that the JuD gets runs into at least Rs 400 crore annually, which included a Rs 61 crore contribution by the Pakistani government in 2013 itself. Apart from this around Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore comes in the form of donations from sympathisers of other countries including India.

The rest of the amount, around Rs 190 crore, is what is worrying, and this is exactly what keeps the Lashkar going, Intelligence Bureau reports would suggest.

The rest of the blood money comes in through various other forms like smuggling of arms and narcotics -- led by none other than the elusive don Dawood Ibrahim -- and other arms and drug mafias operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

India has always been telling the United States that the JuD is the financial wing of the Lashkar. However, the US has taken a lot of time to impose this ban. With this, the US comes into the picture and has the power to freeze all funds being diverted to the JuD from any part of the world.

In the past a lot of money has gone through India to Pakistan which have landed in the coffers of the JuD. Apart from Pakistan the JuD has also set up watering holes in Dubai, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia and London.  A lot of the money that has gone into these watering holes has been through the drug and arms smuggling activities that takes place on the Afghanistan-Pakistan-India corridor.

“India needed international help to track down this money since it has landed in a foreign country,” an IB official said, adding, “The money channels are so deeply infested that it is difficult to track and crack down on the same without help from a foreign agency.”

“The US ban will help us and even if the money does manage to slip out of India it can be tracked to its final destination and the US will have the power to freeze these funds. In addition to this, donors will now be wary before they contribute to the JuD. Earlier it was legal to do so and even the Pakistan government had openly contributed to the JuD. However, with this ban declaring it as a terrorist outfit, the job becomes harder and no one will be forthcoming to do so as contributing becomes an offence under the Terrorist Act,” the IB official explained.

Saeed’s close aides Nazir Ahmed and Mohammad Hussein Gill’s entry into the list of terrorists has also come as a shot in the arm for the Indian agencies.

While Ahmed was a secretary to Saeed, Hussein was JuD’s key fund manager. With contacts in the US, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the UK, Hussein has been managing the finances of the JuD since the past 10 years.

“In fact, prior to this ban, he had the liberty to travel to any of these countries as an ordinary citizen. Now with the ban in place, he will have to stay put in Pakistan and this would curb his activities a great deal,” the IB official pointed out.

Image: JuD chief Hafiz Saeed (top left) stands atop a truck during a rally in Islamabad. Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters.

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Vicky Nanjappa