JeM Investing In Legal Businesses: US Report
1 May 2007
The Indian Express
New Delhi: In what seems to be a confirmation of fears that militant groups have begun using unconventional routes to finance their activities, a US report on terrorism has said that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has invested in commodity trading and real estate. The group had also invested in other legal businesses, like production of consumer goods, says the Country Terrorism Report, 2006 prepared by the US State Department. 'In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani government, JeM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses,' the report has noted. The group is suspected of funding by the al Qaeda. At a conference in Munich in February, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan had said 'manipulation' of stock exchanges was a new modus operandi used by terrorist groups. They were also involved in legitimate businesses like restaurants, real estate and shipping, using part of the proceeds to fund their activities, he had warned. The report also seems to nail Pakistan claims on stopping militant groups from operating saying groups like Jaish were functioning 'openly' despite a 2002 Government ban. It also listed groups like the Harkat-ul- Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Toiba as those who operated from and were trained in Pakistan. On Jaish, the report says, 'The group is well-funded, and is said to have tens of thousands of followers who support attacks against Indian targets, the Pakistani Government, and sectarian minorities,' it says. The group has several hundred armed supporters in Pakistan, in southern Kashmir and Doda regions. The report also focuses on LeT, saying it has it has 'several thousand members' in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, in southern J-K and Doda regions, and in the Kashmir Valley. The third group covered by the report is Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which is linked to Kashmiri militant outfit al Faran. In its section on India, the report cited major successes in the fight against terror. 'Pak safe haven for top militant leaders' Pakistan remains a major source of Islamic extremism and a safe haven for some top terrorist leaders though it is a frontline partner in the war on terror, the report says. Al Qaeda elements continued to be active, particularly in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. 'The FATA of Pakistan have become a safe haven for AQ terrorists and Afghan insurgents since the fall of the Taliban in December 2001,' the report says. 'Al Qaeda's continued calls for the overthrow of President Musharraf remained a threat to Pakistan, despite the Government's efforts to eliminate the AQ elements,' the report notes.