• Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Saudi donors most signifcant source of terrorism funding in Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan's Internal Security' started by TalibanSwatter, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    Express Tribune

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long enjoyed close relations, but Islamabad’s new-found resolve for fighting the root causes of extremism has seen the Gulf state come in for criticism.

    The two countries, are bound together by financial aid from oil-rich Saudi and Pakistan military assistance to the kingdom.

    But a Taliban massacre at a school that killed more than 150 people in December, mostly children, has led the government to crack down on militants and talk of bringing religious seminaries under tighter control.
    Now the country’s media and even government ministers have begun to question whether support from Saudi Arabia for seminaries, known as madrassas, is fuelling violent extremism – bringing tension to the relationship for the first time.

    Last week the Saudi embassy issued a statement saying that all its donations to seminaries had government clearance, after a minister accused the Riyadh government of creating instability across the Muslim world.
    The Pakistani foreign ministry responded by saying that funding by private individuals through “informal channels” would also be scrutinised closely to try to choke off funding for terror groups.

    While the statement avoided mentioning Saudi Arabia specifically, it was widely interpreted as a rebuke.
    Away from the seminaries, there has also been widespread criticism of the decision to allow Saudi royals to hunt the rare houbara bustard, prized in the Middle East for its supposed aphrodisiac properties, in the southern provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.

    Badar Alam, editor of Herald magazine, said the recent wave of criticism was unprecedented.
    “Saudi has vast commercial and economic interests in Pakistan. There are open questions being asked on this relationship,” he said.“Before, nobody would ask any questions in any manner. Now even the Urdu press is asking questions.”


    Donors in Saudi Arabia have long been accused of quietly funding terror groups sympathetic to the kingdom’s hardline Wahhabi version of Islam.

    Leaked diplomatic cables by then-US secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 said Saudi Arabian donors were “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.

    The cable cited the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim sectarian militants Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as examples of where funds were being channelled.

    Linked to the funding is Saudi Arabia’s long geostrategic struggle with Iran, the key Shia Muslim power in the region.
    Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s current prime minister, enjoys particularly close ties with the Saudi royal family, which hosted him during his almost decade-long exile from Pakistan following his ouster by then military ruler Pevez Musharraf.
    And last year the government said it had received a $1.5 billion “gift” from a friendly Muslim nation, widely thought by experts to be in fact a loan from Saudi Arabia.

    But Najmuddin Sheikh, a former foreign secretary and ambassador, said the December attack on an army school in Peshawar, which left 153 people dead including 134 children, had opened the door for criticism.
    “This has been triggered by Peshawar and a strong feeling that much of the terrorism that is here is being financed by outside countries,” he said.

    “Countries like Kuwait, and Qatar must also do much more at home to curtail this.”
    But, he added, any efforts to cut back on foreign funding for extremist seminaries must go hand in hand with similar efforts at home.

    He said this would include the state dropping its links with proxy groups that have historically been used by the military establishment to further strategic goals in Afghanistan and Indian-administered Kashmir.
    “Our fund collection within Pakistan remains unimpeded. If you want more from abroad you need to do more at home,” he said.
     
  2. Zibago

    Zibago ELITE MEMBER

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    We should not blame our short comings on Saudis
     
  3. Khalidr

    Khalidr FULL MEMBER

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    If proper controls were in placed from first day, we would have not faced this issues, government itself is to be blamed, lack of control and law lead to use of donated money into terrorism.
     
  4. OTTOMAN

    OTTOMAN BANNED

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    Perhaps govt. got this for protecting Saudi Ambassadors from terrorists, which were being hunted during Zardari era.
    In any case, aid was unconditional, its the choice of govt. if it use to bribe judges or buy indian weapons for terrorists to kill army kids.
     
  5. SAMEET

    SAMEET FULL MEMBER

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    A country which considers athiest as terrorist shouldnt it deserve sanctions ??
     
  6. OTTOMAN

    OTTOMAN BANNED

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    India should be than sanctioned immediately, as atheists are being raped and killed by BJP.
     
  7. Pulsar

    Pulsar SENIOR MEMBER

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    After all that Saudi Arabia is doing to destabilize Pakistan, the latter are indebted to them. Pakistan considers SA their bosom friend and benefactor.

    Is it because SA is doling out billions in aid to Pakistan?
     
  8. OTTOMAN

    OTTOMAN BANNED

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    Europe doll out billions to India, does it mean Indians start killing Muslims in exchange of this aid?
     
  9. Pulsar

    Pulsar SENIOR MEMBER

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    Don't talk rubbish! Which 'billions' are the Europeans dishing out to India? You need to get your head examined.
     
  10. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    Reuters

    Formation of a Terror Alliance

    The LeJ by 2004 had became a powerful terrorist organization with increasing support from Al Qaeda. The new, never-before-known expertise of LeJ cadres proficient in bomb-making and suicide bombings came from the same source. With time, the LeJ had established its contacts with extremists in Pakistan’s tribal areas (FATA). The new ‘friends’ were mainly Uzbek, belonging to the notorious Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) who had taken refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas as US operations in Afghanistan continued.

    With the formation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2007, many of the LeJ’s factions started operating in urban areas under its umbrella. The rise of an insurgency in FATA and a sudden increase in terrorist attacks all over Pakistan proved to be very beneficial for the LeJ as the main concentration of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) was diverted towards fighting the more powerful rebellion of the TTP. The LeJ’s undeclared alliance with the TTP came to limelight when the responsibility for 2008 Marriott hotel bombing in Islamabad was claimed by the TTP.
    The investigation however, unearthed some startling facts.
    The logistics support for this attack was provided by local militants in Punjab, who were also associated with the LeJ. It was now the LeJ helping the TTP to execute attacks in urban areas of Punjab, while the latter in return provided safe heavens for LeJ terrorists in FATA.

    Attack on SL team
    On 3 March 2009, a convoy of the Sri Lankan cricket team was ambushed in Lahore, 6 policemen and 2 civilians were killed, while two Sri Lankan players also sustained injuries. This attack was carried out by at least 12 highly-trained gunmen. Key suspects of this attack were mostly the LeJ and TTP operatives in Punjab. The primary suspect, Muhammad Aqeel alias Dr. Usman, evaded arrest. The attack is believed to have been masterminded by Malik Ishaq himself.

    When TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in 2009, Hakimullah Mehsud took over. He is credited with forming a proper alliance with the LeJ. Under his command, the TTP began targeting minority sects in tribal areas and claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Shias. But the major joint terror strike by the TTP and LeJ was witnessed in 2009 which was a first-of-its-kind and took the entire nation by surprise.

    It was the siege of Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters or the GHQ in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. 5 out of 10 terrorists who stormed the GHQ belonged to Punjab-based extremist organisations, mainly the LeJ; the other 5 belonged to the TTP. A successful special forces hostage rescue operation ended the siege, but resulted in the martyrdom of two SSG commandos and two civilians.

    THE SAUDI CONNECTION

    In the Punjab town of Jhang, LeJ’s birthplace, SSP leader Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi describes what he says are Tehran’s grand designs. Iranian consular offices and cultural centers, he alleges, are actually a front for its intelligence agencies.

    “If Iranian interference continues it will destroy this country,” said Ludhianvi in an interview in his home. The state provides him with armed guards, fearful any harm done to him could trigger sectarian bloodletting.

    Ludhianvi insisted he was just a politician. “I would like to tell you that I am not a murderer, I am not a killer, I am not a terrorist. We are a political party.”

    After a meal of chicken, curry and spinach, Ludhianvi and his aides stood up to warmly welcome a visitor: Saudi Arabia-based cleric Malik Abdul Haq al-Meqqi.

    A Pakistani cleric knowledgeable about Sunni groups described Meqqi as a middleman between Saudi donors and intelligence agencies and the LeJ, the SSP and other groups.

    “Of course, Saudi Arabia supports these groups. They want to keep Iranian influence in check in Pakistan, so they pay,” the Pakistani cleric said. His account squared with that of a Pakistani intelligence agent, who said jailed militants had confessed that LeJ received Saudi funding.
     
  11. SAMEET

    SAMEET FULL MEMBER

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    images.jpeg
     
  12. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    DAWN


    KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia ostensibly with the direct support of that government.”

    The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur.

    Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi schools of thought.

    Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabi mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”.

    Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Salafi/Wahabi maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states. Children recruited would be given age-specific indoctrination and would eventually be trained according to the madrassah teachers’ assessment of their inclination “to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture” versus their value as promoters of Deobandi or Salafi/Wahabi sects or recruiters, the cable states.

    Recruits “chosen for jihad” would then be taken to “more sophisticated indoctrination camps”. “Locals identified three centres reportedly used for this purpose”. Two of the centres were stated to be in the Bahawalpur district, whereas one was reported as situated “on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city”. These centres “were primarily used for indoctrination”, after which “youths 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”.
     
  13. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    DAWN

    ISLAMABAD: Coming in the backdrop of anger in Saudi Arabia over its criticism in Pakistan, the surprise ‘invitation’ for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Riyadh has left many wondering about the agenda of the trip.
    The Prime Minister’s Office had in a late night announcement on Friday said: “The newly crowned King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, has sent a special invitation to the Prime Minister to visit the Kingdom in the first week of March.”

    The Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz, told Dawn that bilateral cooperation would be discussed during the trip, which would be the first after the completion of succession in Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Mr Sharif’s last visit to Saudi Arabia in January was for the funeral of the king.
    No dates for the upcoming trip have been decided as yet even though the Saudi invitation asked Mr Sharif to come over in the first week of March.

    Read: Federal minister accuses Saudi govt of destabilising Muslim world
    The Saudis haven’t indicated the issues that they would like to discuss during the meeting with Mr Sharif.
    But answers, diplomats and foreign policy observers say, could be found in the context. Saudis have been extremely disturbed over allegations in Pakistan about funding from the Kingdom for extremist and terrorist groups.
    The Saudi embassy had, in an unprecedented move, tried to clarify its position a fortnight ago. But instead of ending the row, it led to a low-key spat between the embassy and the Foreign Office.

    In a veiled rebuttal to embassy’s claim that Kingdom’s funding of seminaries was cleared by the Foreign Office, the spokesperson of the Foreign Office had said that only, “Offers of economic assistance and project based assistance by Saudi Arabia are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the relevant departments and agencies of the Government of Pakistan.”

    Some claim that the delay in the arrival of Abdullah Zahrani, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador-designate to Pakistan, was also because of the underlying tensions in the relationship.
    Ambassador Zahrani, according to the source, was expected some eight weeks ago.
    There has been no Saudi ambassador in Pakistan for about eight months now. Amb Ali Saeed Asseri was earlier named for a second stint in Pakistan, but his nomination was later withdrawn because of developments in Middle East.

    Amb Zahrani is an Asseri protégé having served as his deputy both in Islamabad and Beirut.
    Besides the controversy over terrorism funding, Riyadh, a keen follower of Pak-Saudi relations said, was unhappy over Islamabad not fulfilling its part of the commitment of the deal under which it was given $1.5 billion assistance.
    The assistance was announced during King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to Pakistan last year as the crown prince.

    Though Pakistan had been denying that the money was given for some specific objective, the source said it was meant for safeguarding Riyadh’s regional interests.
    With the March 31 deadline for a political framework for deal on Iran’s nuclear programme nearing, Riyadh is getting increasingly anxious.

    A diplomatic source familiar with the thinking in Riyadh says that KSA needs Pakistan’s help for containing Iran, more than ever and wants to remind Islamabad about its commitment.
    Saudi Arabia has been briefed by the US on the progress in the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme.
    Mr Sharif’s trip to Riyadh would most likely coincide with the meeting between Iran and the six world powers (known as the P5+1: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China) for finalising the outline for the final accord.

    A deal or no deal, Riyadh has its work cut out.
    A successfully concluded deal would have strategic implications for Saudi Arabia compelling it to challenge the diplomatic breakthrough. But, failure to conclude an accord would mean that KSA would be required by the West to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.
    In both scenarios, the source said, Riyadh would expect Islamabad to side with it.
    Mr Sharif, who has investments in Saudi Arabia, is likely to get a different treatment this time. The new set-up in KSA may not be viewing Pakistan as sympathetically as the late King Abdullah did.
     
  14. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    Express Tribune

    Saudi Arabia began air strikes in Yemen on Thursday to defend the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi from advancing Houthi rebels.

    Read: 39 dead in Saudi-led Yemen strikes: health officials

    Here’s why Pakistan should rule out any participation in the fighting:

    1. Northern and Eastern border skirmishes
    It would be a risky proposition to send troops to a foreign country given that Operation Zarb-e-Azab is ongoing, and Pakistan’s armed forces are deeply involved in fighting militants in the country’s tribal areas. Moreover, Pakistan has a hostile neighbour on its eastern borders and incursions on the Line of Control are a usual occurence.
    2. Exacerbating sectarian warfare
    Though Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has repeatedly said the conflict in Yemen is not sectarian in nature — it is, in fact, precisely that. Saudi Arabia does not want the Shia Houthi tribe to take over Yemen, a country the Kingdom shares its southern border with. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia itself has a significant Shia minority of its own, most of it concentrated in oil-rich Eastern Province.
    By siding with Riyadh, Islamabad risks alienating not only its neighbour Iran but also its own significant Shia population. The Shia population in Pakistan already distrust the State’s close ties with Saudi Arabia and believes the latter to fund madrassahs, which in turn fuel sectarianism in the country.

    3. Lessons from history
    By now, one would think, Pakistan must have learnt a lesson from history. A look back into the Cold War period shows that the country’s adventure of fighting with the Soviets, using American money and weapons and Afghan mujahideen brought the so-called ‘Kalashnikov culture’. It also infiltrated easy availability of trained militants who could be used for State and Non-State purposes. Our involvement in the Soviet-US conflict also exacerbated sectarianism as many of the mujahideen were linked to groups that later engaged in sectarian strife. Do we really need a repeat of the past?
    4. Further debilitating the economy
    Some experts on television channels have argued that Pakistan should join the Saudi coalition against Yemen for “strategic reasons”. One must question what exactly these “strategic reasons” are. Pakistan further weakens its already feeble economy, which is heavily dependent on imported oil. By joining the coalition, Pakistan makes itself particularly vulnerable in its relationships with oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia. Wouldn’t the strategic decision, therefore, be to stay out of this issue?
    5. For the unity of the Ummah
    Another argument being used by our ‘security analysts’ and ‘experts’ on electronic and social media is that this is something that Pakistan must do to show its unity with the Ummah. One fails to understand how siding with one Muslim state in a conflict against another Muslim state serves any such purpose. The fact of the matter is that the Organization of Islamic Countries is nothing more than a talking shop and has never really done anything tangible to help Pakistan at a time of crisis.

    Pakistan should do what sensible countries do in such situations – look out for its own self-interest, and which lies singularly in pursuing a policy of non-interference and not siding with Saudi Arabia, or Yemen for that matter.

    The Nation

    Islamabad- Saudi Embassy has informed Riyadh, of Pakistan’s concerns about funding to Madrassas from Saudi Arabia.

    Official sources in Saudi Embassy said that a letter summarizing the concerns about the funding to some of the Pakistani religious seminary was sent to the concerned authorities, in Saudi Arabia.

    The acting ambassador doesn’t want to issue a policy statement in this connection as appointment of the new ambassador is awaited, the sources added. “And soon a policy statement would be shared with the media in this connection,” a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

    State Minister for Education Mian Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman told sources the other day that funding from Saudi Arabia, would flow to any institution through government of Pakistan. “Permission of the government would be mandatory,” he said.

    The issue of financing of madrassas by Saudi Arabia was making rounds in the sessions of the parliament this week.

    Recently, Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada severely criticized the Saudi funding to Madrassas in Pakistan.

    A US diplomatic cable, published by WikiLeaks said financial support estimated at $100 million a year was making its way from those Gulf Arab states to an extremist recruitment network in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

    So far the Saudi authorities, including their foreign ministry refuse to comment on the issue raised on basis WikiLeaks information and challenge authenticity of the cable.

    Last month, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior ministry reportedly approached the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for an urgent meeting, to discuss matters related to the funding of madrassahs/mosques by Saudi philanthropists.

    Financing of extremist religious institution by the philanthropists from the oil-rich country like Saudi Arabia is an open secret since long. But the issue gained attention in wake of the series of terrorism in the country.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  15. TalibanSwatter

    TalibanSwatter FULL MEMBER

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    It boggles the mind to see the Saudis begging for our help. After all Saudi has done to destabilize our backyard, it has the cheek to ask for our military's support.

    The Saudis should know that we are not stupid. The establishment is well aware of Saudi role in exporting its toxic Salafi ideology to our madrassas, and funding militant groups such as TTP, Lashkar Jhangvi and rogue clerics like Mullah Aziz of Lal Masjid fame.

    As a matter of principle the Pakistani establishment will not get involved in a sectarian conflict in Yemen. Iran is our neighbor and we want to promote good relations with it.We are willing to have good relations with the Saudis as well, if they course-correct and stop funding anti state Salafi-inspired militants targeting our civilians and soldiers.

    As far as ISIS knocking on Saudi's front door, it is a case of chickens coming home to roost. The Saudis should have thought of the consequences before they created and provided startup funding for ISIS.

    We advise the Saudis to do the following if they want us to consider helping defend its territorial integrity if needed.

    1. Stop providing funds and weapons to Lashkar Jhangvi and other TTP factions busy murdering Pakistani civilians, policemen and soldiers, effectively trying to destabilize the state.

    2. Stop exporting the deviant Salafi/Wahhabi ideology founded by the rogue, Abdel Wahab, who ISIS keeps quoting in their daily lectures in Iraq and Syria.

    3. Stop funding radical madrassas that promote your deviant salafi ideology and act as a support network for TTP militants, as you have been requested by the interior ministry - this includes the Saudi NGOs you use as proxy funding channels.

    4. Dismantle your 200 year old alliance with the Wahhabi/salafi clergy and renounce this toxic ideology.


    Until all of the above happens, the establishment will continue to see Saudi as an enemy of the state.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015