News Desk |
Maulana Abdul Rehman Makki, Naib-Ameer (second-in-command) of Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) and the brother in law of Hafiz Saeed, has been arrested in Gujranwala. He was accused of provocative speeches against the crackdown on banned outfits. His speeches, according to local authorities, were aimed at inciting violence and disturbance of law and order.
In his speeches, he had also criticized the steps taken by the government in compliance with the regulations suggested by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). His arrest signifies intensification of Government action against JUD and other such quasi religious political organizations. The arrest, confirmed by the interior ministry of Punjab, took place in Gujranwala, where the inciting speeches were made.
TLP had twice, created a chaotic situation on the streets in reaction to Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi in a landmark judgment in October 2018.
The JuD, a banned organization, had been put strictly monitored by the government since quite a long time. This monitoring has resulted in restricting political activities by the leaders of JuD. Recently, 44 members of the banned outfit were taken into custody. Presently, JuD’s function were only limited to its welfare role under its welfare organization named Filah-e-Insaniat that primarily focused on the issues of education, health public welfare and disaster relief activities.
However, this transformation of JUD into a strict welfare organization has remained unacceptable to the international community. Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the JuD, had repeatedly demanded from the UNSC to present a justification for ban on his person. Hafiz is believed to have sought legal representation before UNSC but apparently, it has not worked.
Pakistan Intensifying its Crackdown since April 2018
Maulana Makki’s arrest under Maintenance of Public Order Act, signifies government’s seriousness in dealing with banned outfits involved in the incitement of violence. Pakistan was added to the Grey List of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international watchdog against money laundering and financing terrorism, early in 2018. The addition to greylist, also known as “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies”, apparently happened due to Pakistan’s “structural loopholes” that had allowed money laundering and terror financing to continue.
However FATF designation has been primarily interpreted as a “political move” and since April 2018, Pakistan has increasingly taken a more and more firm stance towards curbing activities of erstwhile Jihadi organizations within its territories. Now their transformation into welfare organizations has also been deemed unacceptable. Pakistan Foreign Office had since then, addressed the issue in several press briefings pointing out a gradual ‘steps and stages’ strategy of Pakistan to dismantle the social structures maintained by former jihadi organizations.
Prior to July elections 2018, the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, while talking to senior tv anchors and editors, had also emphasized Pakistan’s seriousness and commitment in addressing the issue of erstwhile Jihadi organizations.
Challenge is Financial Management of Relief Organizations
However, COAS pointed out, for Pakistan, the challenge is not lack of motivation but of financial management. Welfare organizations, being run by erstwhile Jihadi organizations, provide people with various basic facilities like dispensaries, small hospitals, schools and madrassas. Their local chapters in small towns also provide access to filtered and clean water, subsidized food items and ration and various such necessities and opportunities to the poor, that if left unattended might create a vacuum difficult to be filled by the government in its present financial position.
Pakistan has shown great resolve, especially in the previous year, towards a violence-free region and has committed itself to finding sustainable solutions towards this end.
This vacuum may result in increased agitation by the people who greatly benefited from the welfare works of these organizations. However as part of its “Steps and Stages Strategy,” the present government had aimed to replace the welfare provided by the organizations through the allocation of public funds.
Asad Umer, as finance minister, had in December 2018, successfully sanctioned approximately Rs. 2 billion financial packages for the rehabilitation of the people that may be affected as a result of the strict crackdown on these welfare organizations like Filah-e-Insaniat. Along with a sustainable financial package, the idea of persuading the leaders of the banned outfits to come into mainstream politics was also discussed on the policy-making level.
Govt. Resolve against TLP
The government’s resolve against the elimination of religious militancy of all kinds is also evident in its action against Tehreek-i-Labbaik (TLP). TLP had twice, created a chaotic situation on the streets in reaction to Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi in a landmark judgment in October 2018.
The government not only rejected the demands put forward by Tehreek-i-Labbaik but also successfully demonstrated its resolve through a forceful crackdown against the TLP leadership – most of whom are now under arrest. Last week a foreign office source confirmed, to media, that Asia Bibi had safely left Pakistan for Canada on 8th May 2019.
This signifies Pakistan’s strong position and its conviction to completely eradicate the organizations that breed violent elements within them. There seems to be a new understanding, a kind of consensus, within Pakistani society that these organizations are a liability that Pakistan must get rid of. Pakistan has shown great resolve, especially in the previous year, towards a violence-free region and has committed itself to finding sustainable solutions towards this end. The arrest of Maulana Abdur Rehman Makki is part of this growing resolve.