Pak's Punjab Govt Funded JuD After 26-1116 June 2010
The Economic Times
New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, the Punjab government in Pakistan gave financial assistance to the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which was labelled a front for the Lashkar-e-Toiba by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), after the Mumbai terror attacks. Pakistan’s Punjab province government, which is led by the PML-N, gave Rs 82.77 million to the JuD, whose chief Hafiz Saeed is accused of masterminding the terror attacks, and its associates in the last fiscal year. This information was revealed in a supplementary budget tabled in the Punjab assembly which showed that that the provincial government gave a grant of over Rs 79 million to the Markaz-e-Tayyaba, which is the headquarters of the JuD in Muridke near Lahore. According to reports, the government also gave an additional Rs 3 million as grant for the schools run by the JuD in different districts of Punjab, Provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah revealed to a television channel that the money had been given to the JuD. He told a TV news channel on Tuesday that the money was given to these institutions after the JuD was “banned” in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the Punjab government appointed an administrator for the organisation. Mr Sanaullah, who has been linked to banned groups like the Sipah-e-Sahaba, said that the money was given to continue welfare services provided by JuD’s schools, dispensaries and hospitals. After the Mumbai terror attacks, the Pakistani government under pressure from the international community had taken token action against the JuD which included sealing some of the offices of the organisation. At the time, the government had vowed to ban the LeT front organisation. However, the authorities subsequently took no action and allowed the organisation to continue its activities and argued that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, who was placed under house arrest, was also set free on the grounds that there was no evidence of his involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks even though India had given evidence of his involvement in the attacks. This latest revelation comes ahead of a series of Indo-Pak meetings which includes meetings between the home ministers and foreign ministers of the two countries. Meanwhile, a Punjab government spokesman was quoted as saying that the grants for the JuD had been given to the administrator for continuing welfare services. However, the JuD denied the organisation had got money from the provincial government. “We are a welfare organisation and raise our own funds from the public for providing educational and healthcare services to help the people,” JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid was quoted as saying.