The JUD, which played an active role in the humanitarian relief and rehabilitation operations in the PoK after the earthquake of October, 2005, is playing a similar role now in organizing relief for the internally-displaced Pashtuns from the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) who have been forced to leave their villages in the Valley due to the counter-insurgency operations mounted by the Pakistan Army against the Pakistani Taliban. For this purpose, it has assumed a new identity as the Insaniyat (Humanity) Foundation. The Pakistani media has reported that this Foundation is nothing but the JUD and the LeT, but the Government has not taken any action against it.
Naivete has been the defining characteristic of the US policy towards Pakistan. One need not be surprised by this. Despite their close relations with Pakistan — particularly with its military-intelligence establishment — for over 50 years, Americans — whether in the Government or in private think tanks — do not understand Pakistan even though they think they do. We are the next door neighbours of Pakistan. We have had four military conflicts with Pakistan since 1947. We have been the victims of Pakistan-sponsored and Pakistan-aided terrorism since 1981. Despite this, we tend to be as naive as the Americans.
The Pakistani media has reported that this Foundation is nothing but the JUD and the LeT, but the Government has not taken any action against it.
This became evident from the unwarranted euphoric reaction in policy-making and think-tank circles in New Delhi to remarks made by Zardari to a group of civil servants in Islamabad on July 7, 2009. According to the correspondent of the Times of India (July 9, 2009), Zardari reportedly said: “Militants and extremists were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives. Let us be truthful and make a candid admission of the reality — the terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryear until 9/11 and they began to haunt us as well”.
His remarks were hailed in New Delhi as indicating a refreshing realization and admission by Zardari. But was he referring to the anti-India terrorist groups like the LeT? Not at all. From a careful reading of his remarks, it is evident he was referring to the Taliban, which has been spreading death and destruction in Pakistan. This was also evident from an editorial written by the Daily Times of Lahore on July 9, 2009. It said: “President Asif Ali Zardari, addressing the bureaucrats in Islamabad on Tuesday, made some ‘candid admissions’ that the Taliban policy of Pakistan in the past was wrong: ‘the terrorists of today are the heroes of yesteryear’.”
Naivete has been the defining characteristic of the US policy towards Pakistan.
Thus, when Zardari talked of the heroes of yesterday becoming the terrorists of today, he was talking of the Taliban and not the LeT. At least, Musharraf spoke of the LeT as a suspected terrorist organization for some months in 2002. Zardari has never referred to the JUD or the LeT as a terrorist organization. He has not formally banned the JUD. He has not prevented the JUD from operating in the camps for internally-displaced Pashtuns under the name of the Insaniyat Foundation.
While refraining from criticizing the inaction of the Pakistani authorities in the cases relating to the LeT operatives and office-bearers involved in the Mumbai attack, the US kept its focus on the LeT in an attempt to reassure India that its non-criticism of Pakistan did not mean letting the LeT get away with its acts of terrorism against India. In a press note issued on July 1, 2009, the US Department of Treasury gave the personal particulars of four persons — a Pashtun born in Afghanistan, two Punjabis and a fourth person of unclear ethnicity originating from Karachi — associated with the LeT, who were designated by the Department under Executive Order 13224 as “providing direct support to Al Qaeda and the LeT and as facilitating terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai.”
The four persons so designated by the Treasury Department were:
A. FAZEEL-A-TUL SHAYKH ABU MOHAMMED AMEEN AL-PESHAWARI, born in the Konar Province of Afghanistan and living in Peshawar.
B. ARIF QASMANI, a Pakistani national from Karachi.
C. MOHAMMED YAHYA MUJAHID, a Pakistani national from Lahore.
D. NASIR JAVAID, a Pakistani national from Gujranwala, Punjab, living in Manshera, NWFP.
“President Asif Ali Zardari, addressing the bureaucrats in Islamabad on Tuesday, made some “˜candid admissions that the Taliban policy of Pakistan in the past was wrong: “˜the terrorists of today are the heroes of yesteryear.”
The Treasury Department’s notification did not specifically refer to Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari (Ameen al-Peshawari) as an associate or an office-bearer of the LeT. However, it said of him as follows: “He was providing assistance, including funding and recruits, to Al Qaeda network. He has also provided funding and other resources to the Taliban, including explosive vests and other resources and actively facilitated the activities of anti-Coalition militants operating in Afghanistan by raising money in support of terrorist activities. In addition, he had begun a campaign to support militants in Pakistan. As of 2007, Ameen al-Peshawari was responsible for recruiting fighters and suicide bombers and for the acquisition of funds and equipment for militants in Afghanistan. Ameen al-Peshawari has also provided monetary compensation to families of fighters killed in Afghanistan and has been involved in anti-Coalition militia recruiting activities.” All the activities of Abu Mohammed al-Peshawari referred to in the notification related to Afghanistan.
However, Arif Qasmani of Karachi was specifically named by the notification as involved in the Mumbai suburban train blasts of July, 2006, and in the Samjotha Express blast of February, 2007. It said of him as follows: “Arif Qasmani is the chief coordinator for Lashkar-e Tayyiba’s (LeT) dealings with outside organizations and has provided significant support for LeT terrorist operations. Qasmani has worked with the LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjotha Express bombing in Panipat, India.
Qasmani conducted fundraising activities on behalf of the LeT in 2005 and utilized money that he received from Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime figure and terrorist supporter, to facilitate the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India. Since 2001, Arif Qasmani has also provided financial and other support and services to Al Qaeda, including facilitating the movement of al Qaida leaders and personnel in and out of Afghanistan, the return of foreign fighters to their respective countries, and the provision of supplies and weapons. In return for Qasmani’s support, Al Qaeda provided Qasmani with operatives to support the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjotha Express bombing in Panipat, India. In 2005, Qasmani provided Taliban leaders with a safe haven and a means to smuggle personnel, equipment, and weapons into Afghanistan.”
From the notification, three significant points about Qasmani emerged: First, he received money from Dawood Ibrahim for the July 2006 bombings in Mumbai; second, he provided financial and logistics support to Al Qaeda and its leaders; and third, he provided safe haven to the leaders of the Afghan Taliban.
According to the notification, “Mohammed Yahya Mujahid is the head of the LeT media department and has served as an LeT media spokesman since at least mid-2001. In that capacity, Mujahid has issued statements to the press on behalf of the LeT on numerous occasions, including after the December 2001 LeT attacks on the Indian Parliament, and following the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. Mujahid’s statements on behalf of the LeT have been reported by international news sources such as BBC News, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Asia Times Online. As of late 2007, Mujahid was influential among the LeT central leadership.”