Protesters at “Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal’s” rally in Lahore fly the Jamaat-ud Dawa flag during a rally in January.
While the Pakistani military is moving against the Taliban and al Qaeda in South Waziristan, the al Qaeda-linked, home-grown jihadist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to conduct business as usual. Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front group for Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba, has begun to republish magazines, albeit under a new brand, while Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, opened a new madrassa in Bahawalpur. From IndianExpress.com:
Months after Jamaat-ud-Dawa publications were taken off stands in Pakistan following the UN Security Council ban on the outfit, the periodicals are said to be back in circulation under new names. And the other anti-India terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, has inaugurated a new madrasa in Bahawalpur on behalf of its head Maulana Masood Azhar.
This flies in the face of India’s diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan to rein in these outfits after the Mumbai terror attack. With the Pakistan government failing to build a credible case against LeT founder and JuD head Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, sources said, the outfit’s propaganda machine has suddenly become more energetic.
JuD’s weekly newspaper Ghazwah is said to have reappeared as Jarrar. Women’s monthly Tayyibat is now replaced by Al Sifat, students monthly Zarb-e-Taiba is said to have been renamed Akhbaar-e-Taiba while another periodical Al-Daawa is said to have the hit stands under the name Al-Harmain.
Meanwhile, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Pakistani Army laments the fact that madrassas are springing up throughout Punjab province:
Last week I happened to visit my native village in Chakwal located on a marvelous plateau surrounded by the scenic Kallar Kahar, gifted with a large natural lake and peacocks on one side and the fabulous Salt Range and many more green mountains on the other. This patch of land, an abode of soldiers, has many government schools and colleges and various private and Fauji Foundation educational institutions.
However, what I noticed was that of late the region had seen a rapid increase in the number of madrassas – they were found attached to just about every mosque – where impressionable children from impoverished backgrounds were being brainwashed by bigoted mullahs – without even a semblance of modern education. The madrassas nurture hatred, unforgiveness and intolerance and can be found just about anywhere in the district. This needs to be checked or the future of the district could be worse than what we have seen happen in Swat and Waziristan. The storm is brewing.
The Pakistani government lacks a comprehensive plan to deal with the rise in radical extremism that is threatening to overtake the country. Saeed and Azhar remain free and their organizations prosper. There is no brake on the establishment of radical madrassas. And the military is focused on one segment of the Taliban in South Waziristan at the exclusion of the Taliban groups that are considered “good.”
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