Pakistan claims to ‘crack down’ on Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Again.

The Pakistani government says it is shuttering institutions that belong to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a designated terrorist group that is an alias for Lashkar-e-Taiba. If the past is any guide, the efforts are merely eyewash to placate Western governments in the wake of major terror attacks emanating from Pakistani soil.

That’s because Pakistan has claimed it has shut down JuD offices and detained its top leaders in the past, only to allow the offices to reopen and the leaders free months later.

“A seminary, hospital, and two dispensaries — located on the Chakrah and Adiala roads and run by the JuD — have been sealed” by the local government of Rawalpindi on the orders of the federal government, Dawn reported. However, “no arrests will be made during the crackdown.”

Rawalpindi is home of the Pakistani Army’s General Headquarters. JuD is listed as a “proscribed” group in Pakistan, which means it is not allowed to operate. Both the US government and the United Nations list JuD as a banned international terrorist organization. Ironically, Pakistani generals and government officials routinely state that terrorist groups are not permitted to operate on Pakistani soil. Yet JuD operates freely in the city that headquarters Pakistan’s military.

This is not the first time that the Pakistani government has “cracked down” on Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Hafiz Saeed, the emir and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its successor, JuD, has been placed under “protective custody” at least four times in the past two decades, only to be released. Even when he was in purported custody, Saeed was free to travel and give sermons at LeT/JuD-run mosques in Lahore.

After JuD/LeT’s assault on the Indian city of Mumbai in Nov. 2008, Pakistan claimed it shut down Lashkar-e-Taiba / Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices and camps, and detained followers, including Saeed, but the efforts were largely cosmetic. JuD offices were quietly reopened and Saeed was released from an extremely loose house arrest.

In early 2017, the last time Pakistan detained Saeed, it also claimed it closed down JuD’s sprawling Markaz-e-Taiba complex in Muridke, which has its own hospital, mosques, madrassas, stores, and training facilities for jihadists. Additionally, the government “started to remove the banners of JuD from the roads of Lahore.” The crackdown was temporary; the Markaz-e-Taiba complex is up and running and in the hands of JuD.

Saeed’s ties to both the Pakistani state and global terrorist groups such as al Qaeda are indisputable. He created Lashkar-e-Taiba on the advice of Osama bin Laden and his mentor, Abdullah Azzam. The Pakistani state supports Saeed and his organization, which has offices across the country. Numerous JuD charitable fronts operate inside Pakistan, with the knowledge and support of the state.

Pakistan also routinely rounds up known terrorist leaders and places them under protective custody, only to release them when foreign pressure wanes. Dangerous jihadist commanders such as Masood Azhar (Jaish-e-Mohammed), Qari Saifullah Akhtar (Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami), and Malik Ishaq (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi) have been detained numerous times, only to be freed.

There is little reason to believe this latest “effort” will be any different.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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