Terror groups train PoK orphans for militancy : Report
13 November 2005
The Indian Express
Press Trust of India
London: Pakistan-based terror outfits, exploiting human misery, are taking children orphaned by earthquake in PoK off the streets to train them to carry out militant activities in J-K, a Sunday Times report claimed today. The report was quoting Pakistan’s leading human rights organisation, Ansar Burney Welfare Trust. The organisation said that Pakistan-based militant groups active in J-K were taking orphans off the streets and putting them in training camps. It claimed to have evidence that sympathetic government officials were passing children on to the jihadis to be looked after, according to the report. Advertisement The paper noted that the popularity of the Islamic militants has risen sharply since the earthquake struck on October 8, as they were among the first to arrive with aid at some of the worst affected villages. But, according to human rights campaigners they are using their newfound popularity to smuggle weapons and recruit the young and vulnerable. ‘‘We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained,’’ said Fahad Burney, of the Trust. Jamaat-ud Dawa, a jihadi group in Pakistan, has called for orphans to be handed over for an ‘‘Islamic education’’. Another hazard facing children is pneumonia, which is taking its toll among the 750,000 survivors living in the tent camps. Action Against Hunger, a charity, said it was now seeing one or two cases every day, and was aware of some children dying from the illness.