October 29, 2005Foreign AffairsSecurity

Those impressive jihadis…

Or what Pakistan left its Kashmiris with

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

As Robi Sen points out, Musharraf finally admitted that contrary to the perception he had been giving to the world at large, he had not quite banned the motherships of Pakistan’s terrorist community. Outfits like the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, of which the Lashkar-e-Taiba is a component, were just under a watchlist’.

So the jihadi outfits showed remarkable competence in providing relief to the quake hit communities of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, leaving genteel commentators like _Dawn’_s Ayaz Amir impressed.

The Jamaat-ut-Dawaah’s camp to the north of the city, on a piece of sloping ground by the River Neelum, is a picture of precision and organization. Tents for the injured, about 40 tents for displaced persons, a mobile surgical unit in which when I arrived a team of Indonesian doctors was performing surgery, a mountain of relief goods, and again a very methodical system of relief distribution…

Dawaah volunteers were going to inaccessible areas and there assessing relief needs. Again on the basis of the chits they issued, the recipients could collect relief from the base camp. When I was out on the road to Ath Maqam and asked my vehicle to turn around because I found the precipice falling sharply to the Neelum River a bit too scary, I saw a band of young men in the distance marching briskly in our direction. With good walking boots on and carrying sleeping bags, they looked very tough and kept almost racing up the slope even as I asked them which organization they were from. “Jamaat-ut-Dawaah,” came the muffled answer. So they hadn’t been bluffing when they told me their boys went up into the mountains. I don’t much care for Hafiz Saeed’s theology, much too stark and cut-and-dried for my taste. But by God his boys are impressive.

Next to the Al Khidmat camp, again by the banks of the swift-flowing Neelum, I chanced upon another discovery, a very well-laid-out relief camp, guarded by boys from the Hizbul Mujahideen (the largest of the Kashmiri resistance outfits led by long-beard Maulvi Salahuddin), obviously rich with relief supplies, and doling out relief in a very organized manner. It turned out this was the base camp of the Sialkot-based Mutayab-ul-Islam Foundation. Again assistance was being given on the basis of chits handed out by Foundation volunteers trekking to cut-off villages. Each relief package contained flour, rice, ghee, etc, a new blanket, new (not second hand) winter jackets, (proper jackets that you wouldn’t be ashamed of wearing) and, better believe this, shoes according to size. I actually heard them asking what size of foot before providing the required size. [Dawn]Other than a grand name for their territory, these jihadi organisations are the greatest thing Pakistan has done for the people of the part of Kashmir it controls. Since Pakistan grabbed its part of Jammu & Kashmir, the residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit (where residents currently are in open rebellion against the Pakistan Army’s Rangers who were sent there to quell the previous one) and Baltistan have been in a constitutional limbo — controlled directly by the Pakistani military establishment. In the absence of local institutions or genuine elected representatives, it is small wonder that the only the army and its offspring — the jihadi outfits — remain standing after the quake.

Ayaz Amir does not pause to question how in the first place did those jihadis come to be so well-stocked. Barring humanitarian organisations — which the Jamaat-ud-Dawa scarcely is — the only people who are so well prepared are, well, troops readying for, or already in battle.

Tailpiece: Amir’s op-ed is impressive for another reason — even as he lists organisations and countries that stepped in to assist Pakistan, that he left India out cannot be due to an accident.

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