Banned militant groups like the Lashker-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, blamed for terror strikes in India, have set up camps in Karachi to raise funds to help victims of the worst ever deluge sweeping Pakistan.
Office-bearers of the groups said the ban imposed on them has compelled them to work under different names.
The work of these groups is reminiscent of their activities during the 2005 earthquake, when they had more resources than the government itself.
The groups claim they have collected millions of rupees for the flood victims and that they are engaged in relief and rescue operations in affected areas, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The groups have given food and medical facilities to the survivors. Other militant groups engaged in relief operations are the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, blamed by India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Harkatul Mujahideen, Hizbut Tahrir and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
“JuD, under the name of Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation Pakistan, has set up around 29 relief camps at Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulstan-e-Jauhar, Landhi, Clifton, Korangi and other areas (of Karachi),” an office-bearer of the organisation told the daily.
Initially, the JuD set up its camp under its own name but police started demanding extortion money, said a man identified only as Hussain, who is in-charge of the camp outside the Jamia Masjid at Khalid Bin Waleed Road.
“(The police says that since) we are a terrorist organisation, we have to give them a share of our earnings,” said Hussain.
“When we tried to explain that this is charitable work, they started demolishing our camps, saying that we were banned organisations.”
The chief of JuD’s Karachi division, Naveed Qamar, believes that the organisation was banned to appease the U.S. and its allies as it has “nothing to do with terrorism.”
He claimed the JuD runs a large network of Islamic schools and clinics and is engaged in welfare activities like disaster relief.
“We provide cooked food to 50,000 flood survivors in all four provinces every day and very soon we will reach out to 100,000 survivors,” said Qamar.
The JuD claims to have distributed ration packets to around 8,000 families. Each packet costs Rs 3,200 and has ghee, rice, pulses, soap and other items.
The JuD has set up 17 medical camps flood-hit areas like Muzaffargarh, Mardan, Mianwali, Kot Addu and Sukkur and 25 of their ambulances are taking patients to hospitals.
“Our main objective is to serve humanity and Islam and we will continue to serve even if our name is not publicised,” Qamar said.
Media reports from the flood-hit areas in northwest Pakistan have said that the JuD, in its guise as the Falah-e-Insaniyat, has been at the forefront of relief efforts.
Police have been aware of the presence of networks of such groups in Karachi through their intelligence web and police official Amir Farooqui confirmed that the officials have received information from intelligence agencies that a few suspicious organisations were working in his area.
“We are monitoring their activities and investigating their links with banned militant organisations before taking action against them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sindh Home Department Special Secretary Collin Kamran Dost told The Express Tribune that since the government cannot deal with this calamity alone, there is nothing wrong if such organisations work for the relief of survivors.
“Our agencies are vigilant,” he claimed.
“The organisations are not doing any anti-state or terrorist activities, but are in fact serving humanity, which is needed in the present situation.”
The JuD was banned by the U.N. Security Council in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 that killed 166 people.
JuD chief Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest but was freed by the Lahore High Court in June 2009 as there was no evidence against him.