Reports of JuD working with new names emerged as the European Union asked Pakistan to take “clear and sustained actions” against terror groups listed by the UN.
Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) has re-emerged as “Al Madina” and “Aisar Foundation”, days after the Pakistan government decided to ban it, with members of the group openly engaging in fund-raising in cities such as Lahore.
Reports of JuD working with new names — a tactic resorted to by the group led by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed whenever it faces pressure from authorities — emerged as the European Union asked Pakistan to take “clear and sustained actions” against terror groups listed by the UN and individuals claiming attacks such as the one at Pulwama.
A meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on February 21 decided to “accelerate action against proscribed organisations”, including notifying JuD and its front, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), as banned groups.
Within three days, JuD and FIF began “operating with impunity” with several new names, including Al Madina and Aisar Foundation, Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper reported after its journalists visited “newly renamed kiosks, offices and fund collection centres” of the groups.
Despite the Pakistan government’s announcement of a move to ban JuD and FIF, the two groups continue to be only on a “watch list” and haven’t been included on the list of banned groups maintained by the National Counter Terrorism Authority.
There was no official response to these developments from the Indian government.
Saeed’s group adopted the name JuD after international pressure increased on LeT and it was banned. Following pressure on JuD after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the group adopted the name FIF. When Saeed was placed under house arrest in early 2017 and JuD faced renewed pressure, the group re-emerged as Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir.
Daily Times reported that “very few” FIF offices in public places had been shut, and its workers had no qualms admitting that they worked for Saeed and had “only changed the name due to the government’s weakness against foreign pressure”.
The report said people were seen visiting the offices and donating money in the name of helping the poor.
“Some of the operators at rebranded…FIF ‘outlets’ expressed their feelings that the government and security apparatus were on their side, but all the stakeholders [including FIF and Hafiz Saeed] were making a compromise for the time being,” the report said. At a camp outside the JuD headquarters at Chauburji in Lahore, the FIF is still collection donations, the report added.
Meanwhile, Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, told foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday that Pakistan should continue addressing terrorism, including clear and sustained actions targeting “not only all UN-listed transnational terrorist groups but also individuals claiming responsibility for” strikes like the Pulwama attack.
Mogherini spoke on the phone to Qureshi regarding the tensions between India and Pakistan following the attack, an EU statement said. She “stressed the urgency to de-escalate the situation” and said the EU is in contact with Indian counterparts.
She appreciated the Pakistan premier’s commitment to reach out to India and said the EU’s policy has always been to promote a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve differences.
A statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office made no mention of Mogherini’s demand for action against terror groups and only quoted Qureshi as saying Pakistan had expressed its readiness to investigate the attack and asked India to share actionable intelligence.