LeT utilizing Swat relief camps to gain public sympathy, shop for recruits: CSM

June 20th, 2009 - 5:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Washington, June 20 (ANI): The Pakistan Army might be patting its back for having forced the Taliban on the back foot during the offensive in the Swat and the Malakand Divisions, but it is seems to be unaware of the bigger dangers that the relief camps being run for the thousands of displaced persons in the region pose.

With over three million people rendered homeless due to the military operation, several refugee camps have been set-up in the region to help the displaced people, which include the camps set-up by banned terror organizations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The LeT, the terror group which carried out the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, under the name of Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) has been running several refugee camps across the restive region in its bid to gain the public sympathy, and also to try recruit new fighters for its future operations.

The FIF is the same group which was known as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), but it had to rechristen itself following a crackdown by the Pakistan government after a United Nations ban.

Some analysts also believe that such humanitarian work being carried out by certain extremist organizations is primarily aimed to woo the war refugees and win their support, a report in the Christian Science Monitor said.

“No doubt, they are doing a good job, but their agenda is something else. They might create more support for the Taliban in the IDP camps,” a Peshawar based security analyst, Brigadier General (retired) Mahmood Shah said.

Shah said these organizations could also use the camps as a hiding place with the people’s support.

Another religious organization conducting relief operations in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is Al-Khidmat, social-services wing of Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party sympathetic to the Taliban, the report said.

The lack of co-ordination between the government and different agencies of the United Nations regarding the relief work has only aggravated the matter, as the displaced people have now started voicing their discontent, it added.

Lengthy procedures for registration and distributing aid has frustrated the refugees, raising concerns about them being developing a soft corner for the extremists’ run relief camps, it went on to add.

Complaints about corruption in aid distribution have only made matters worse.

Moreover, the United Nations is also facing a lack of funds, as it has only about 30 percent of the 543 million dollars it had requested for continuing the relief and humanitarian work.

“Our resources are limited, and we are only reaching a fraction of those whom we would like to reach,” the report quoted Martin Mogwanja, the top UN humanitarian coordinator on Pakistan, as saying. (ANI)

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