Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is Pakistan: Dollar 100 Million Jihad Fund

This is Pakistan: Dollar 100 Million Jihad Fund

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178082 11/13/2008 10:30 08LAHORE302 Consulate Lahore SECRET//NOFORN "ACTION SCA-00
O 131030Z NOV 08
" "S E C R E T LAHORE 000302

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018

Derived from: DSCG 05-1, B,D
1. (S/NF) Summary: During recent trips to southern Punjab,
Principal Officer was repeatedly told that a sophisticated
jihadi recruitment network had been developed in the Multan,
Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The network
reportedly exploited worsening poverty in these areas of the
province to recruit children into the divisions' growing
Deobandi and Ahl-eHadith madrassa network from which they were
indoctrinated into jihadi philosophy, deployed to regional
training/indoctrination centers, and ultimately sent to
terrorist training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (FATA). Locals believed that charitable activities being
carried out by Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations,
including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Al-Khidmat Foundation, and
Jaish-e-Mohammad were further strengthening reliance on
extremist groups and minimizing the importance of traditionally
moderate Sufi religious leaders in these communities.
Government and non-governmental sources claimed that financial
support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making
its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from
""missionary"" and ""Islamic charitable"" organizations in Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct
support of those governments. Locals repeatedly requested USG
support for socio-economic development and the promotion of
moderate religious leaders in the region as a direct counter to
the growing extremist threat. End Summary.

2. (S/NF) During a recent visit to the southern Punjabi cities
of Multan and Bahawalpur, Principal Officer's discussions with
religious, political, and civil society leaders were dominated
by discussions of the perceived growing extremist threat in
Seraiki and Baloch areas in southern and western Punjab.
Interlocutors repeatedly stressed that recruitment activities by
extremist religious organizations, particularly among young men
between the ages of 8 and 15, had increased dramatically over
the last year. Locals blamed the trend on a strengthening
network of Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith mosques and madrassas,
which they claimed had grown exponentially since late 2005.
Such growth was repeatedly attributed to an influx of ""Islamic
charity"" that originally reached Pakistani pseudo-religious
organizations, such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Al-Khidmat
foundation, as relief for earthquake victims in Kashmir and the
North West Frontier Province. Locals believe that a portion of
these funds was siphoned to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in
southern and western Punjab in order to expand these sects'
presence in a traditionally hostile, but potentially fruitful,
recruiting ground. The initial success of establishing
madrassas and mosques in these areas led to subsequent annual
""donations"" to these same clerics, originating in Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates. The value of such donations was
uncertain, although most interlocutors believed that it was in
the region of $100 million annually.

3. (S/NF) According to local interlocutors, current recruitment
activities generally exploit families with multiple children,
particularly those facing severe financial difficulties in light
of inflation, poor crop yields, and growing unemployment in both
urban and rural areas in the southern and western Punjab.
Oftentimes, these families are identified and initially
approached/assisted by ostensibly ""charitable"" organizations
including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a front for designated foreign
terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Tayyaba), the Al-Khidmat
Foundation (linked to religious political party
Jamaat-e-Islami), or Jaish-e-Mohammad (a charitable front for
the designated foreign terrorist organization of the same name).

4. (S/NF) The local Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith maulana will
generally be introduced to the family through these
organizations. He will work to convince the parents that their
poverty is a direct result of their family's deviation from ""the
true path of Islam"" through ""idolatrous"" worship at local Sufi
shrines and/or with local Sufi Peers. The maulana suggests that
the quickest way to return to ""favor"" would be to devote the
lives of one or two of their sons to Islam. The maulana will
offer to educate these children at his madrassa and to find them
employment in the service of Islam. The concept of ""martyrdom""
is often discussed and the family is promised that if their sons
are ""martyred"" both the sons and the family will attain
""salvation"" and the family will obtain God's favor in this life,
as well. An immediate cash payment is finally made to the
parents to compensate the family for its ""sacrifice"" to Islam.
Local sources claim that the current average rate is
approximately Rps. 500,000 (approximately USD 6500) per son. A
small number of Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in Dera Ghazi Khan district
are reportedly recruiting daughters as well.

5. (S/NF) The path following recruitment depends upon the age of
the child involved. Younger children (between 8 and 12) seem to
be favored. These children are sent to a comparatively small,
extremist Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith madrassa in southern or
western Punjab generally several hours from their family home.
Locals were uncertain as to the exact number of madrassas used
for this initial indoctrination purpose, although they believed
that with the recent expansion, they could number up to 200.
These madrassas are generally in isolated areas and are kept
small enough (under 100 students) so as not to draw significant
attention. At these madrassas, children are denied contact with
the outside world and taught sectarian extremism, hatred for
non-Muslims, and anti-Western/anti-Pakistan government
philosophy. Contact between students and families is forbidden,
although the recruiting maulana periodically visits the families
with reports full of praise for their sons' progress.
""Graduates"" from these madrassas are either (1) employed as
Deobandi/Ahl-e-Hadith clerics or madrassa teachers or (2) sent
on to local indoctrination camps for jihad. Teachers at the
madrassa appear to make the decision based on their read of the
child's willingness to engage in violence and acceptance of
jihadi culture versus his utility as an effective proponent of
Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith ideology/recruiter.

6. (S/NF) Children recruited at an older age and ""graduates""
chosen for jihad proceed to more sophisticated indoctrination
camps focused on the need for violence and terrorism against the
Pakistan government and the West. Locals identified three
centers reportedly used for this purpose. The most prominent of
these is a large complex that ostensibly has been built at
Khitarjee (sp?). Locals placed this site in Bahawalpur District
on the Sutlej River north of the village of Ahmedpur East at the
border of the districts of Multan, Bahawalpur, and Lodhran. The
second complex is a newly built ""madrassa"" on the outskirts of
Bahawalpur city headed by a devotee of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader
Maulana Masood Azhar identified only as Maulana Al-Hajii (NFI).
The third complex is an Ahl-e-Hadith site on the outskirts of
Dera Ghazi Khan city about which very limited information was
available. Locals asserted that these sites were primarily used
for indoctrination and very limited military/terrorist tactic
training. They claimed that following several months of
indoctrination at these centers youth were generally sent on to
more established training camps in the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as
suicide bombers in settled areas. Many worried that these youth
would eventually return to try and impose their extremist
version of Islam in the southern and western Punjab and/or to
carry out operations in these areas.

7. (S/NF) Interlocutors repeatedly chastised the government for
its failure to act decisively against indoctrination centers,
extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as
Jaish-e-Mohammad's Masood Azhar. One leading Sufi scholar and a
Member of the Provincial Assembly informed Principal Officer
that he had personally provided large amounts of information on
the location of these centers, madrassas, and personalities to
provincial and national leaders, as well as the local police.
He was repeatedly told that ""plans"" to deal with the threat were
being ""evolved"" but that direct confrontation was considered
""too dangerous."" The Bahawalpur District Nazim told Principal
Officer that he had repeatedly highlighted the growing threat to
the provincial and federal governments but had received no
support in dealing with it. He blamed politics, stating that
unless he was willing to switch parties — he is currently with
the Pakistan Muslim League — neither the Pakistan Muslim League
- Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan Peoples Party federal
governments would take his requests seriously. The brother of
the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, and a noted
Brailvi/Sufi scholar in his own right, Allama Qasmi blamed
government intransigence on a culture that rewarded political
deals with religious extremists. He stressed that even if
political will could be found, the bureaucracy in the Religious
Affairs, Education, and Defense Ministries remained dominated by
Zia-ul-Haq appointees who favored the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith
religious philosophies. This bureaucracy, Qasmi claimed, had
repeatedly blocked his brother's efforts to push policy in a
different direction.

8. (S/NF) Interlocutors repeatedly requested USG assistance for
the southern and western Punjab, believing that an influx of
western funds could counter the influence of
Deobandi/Ahl-e-Hadith clerics. Principal Officer was repeatedly
reminded that these religious philosophies were alien to the
southern and western Punjab — which is the spiritual heartland
of South Asia's Sufi communities. Their increasing prominence
was directly attributed to poverty and external funding. Locals
believed that socio-economic development programs, particularly
in education, agriculture, and employment generation, would have
a direct, long-term impact in minimizing receptivity to
extremist movements. Similarly, they pressed for immediate
relief efforts — particularly food distribution and income
support — to address communities' immediate needs. Several
interlocutors also encouraged direct USG support to Brailvi/Sufi
religious institutions, arguing that these represented the
logical antithesis to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith philosophy and
that if adequately funded, they could stem the tide of converts
away from their moderate beliefs.

9. (S/NF) A jihadi recruiting network relying on Deobandi and
Ahl-e-Hadith religious, charitable, and educational institutions
is increasing its work in impoverished districts of southern and
western Punjab. Local economic conditions coupled with foreign
financing appear to be transforming a traditionally moderate
area of the country into a fertile recruiting ground for
terrorist organizations. The provincial and federal
governments, while fully aware of the problem, appear to fear
direct confrontation with these extremist groups. Local
governments lack the resources and federal/provincial support to
deal with these organizations on their own. The moderate
Brailvi/Sufi community is internally divided into followers of
competing spiritual leaders and lacks the financial resources to
act as an effective counterweight to well-funded and
well-organized extremists.

10. (S/NF) Post believes that this growing recruitment network
poses a direct threat to USG counter-terrorism and
counter-extremism efforts in Pakistan. Intervention at this
stage in the southern and western Punjab could still be useful
to counter the prevailing trends favoring extremist
organizations. USAID development resources in agriculture,
economic growth, education, and infrastructure development are
useful and necessary and will address some of the immediate
needs. In post's view short-term, quick impact programs are
required which focus on: (1) immediate relief in the form of
food aid and microcredit, (2) cash for work and community-based,
quick-impact infrastructure development programs focusing on
irrigation systems, schools, and other critical infrastructure,
and (3) strategic communication programs designed to educate on
the dangers of the terrorist recruiting networks and to support
counter-terrorist, counter-extremist messages.

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Nadeem Malik Live is a flagship current affairs programme of Samaa.TV. The programme gives independent news analysis of the key events shaping future of Pakistan. A fast paced, well rounded programme covers almost every aspect, which should be a core element of a current affairs programme. Discussion with the most influential personalities in the federal capital and other leading lights of the country provides something to audience to help them come out with their own hard hitting opinions.

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