In a move that has raised many an eyebrow, the Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) on Tuesday offered unconditional support and help for the victims of hurricane Sandy that has left a trail of devastation along the east coast of the U.S. and brought life to a standstill in Washington D.C. and New York.
In a statement, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed said if the U.S. government allowed, his organisation would send doctors, relief, rescue experts, food and medicine to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. “Regardless of what [the] U.S. government propagates about us including their announcement of bounties, we look forward to act on the traits of our Prophet by helping and serving adversity-struck American people, considering it our religious and moral obligation.”
According to the JuD, this was a humanitarian issue. “Wherever and whenever humanity is at stake, and needs urgent help, Islam orders us to help them without discriminating between religion, caste or creed.” The statement also details the other countries where JuD “carried out relief activities”: Sri Lanka, Indonesia and elsewhere after tsunami and other natural disasters. “Even India was offered help by JuD during earthquake that damaged life and property. In a similar way we are already helping minorities, especially Hindus in Sindh, during the on-going flood.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. had announced a $10-million bounty for evidence that could lead to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Saeed, a move that had helped him consolidate his position among right-wing organisations. Islamabad has always maintained that it would act against him if actionable evidence was provided.
Further, whenever questions are raised about him walking around a free man addressing rallies, the counter has been that he had been detained after the Mumbai terror attack case and let off by the Lahore High Court, a decision which was also endorsed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In recent years, the JuD — a reincarnation of the Lashkar-e-Taiba — has sought to reinvent itself as a charitable organisation. As part of this image makeover, the JuD has made it a point to flag truck-loads of relief material during natural calamities from Islamabad where the bulk of the international media is located.