USAID’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa mistake

US humanitarian relief is empowering Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex

As feared, the world’s humanitarian response to Pakistan’s flood crisis is strengthening the very Islamic militant groups that constitute a long-term threat to international security. Nothing exemplifies this as Rajiv Shah, the USAID chief, visiting a camp run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s (JuD) front organisation, and the latter basking in the glory of an endorsement by its professed enemy.

“It is nice to meet you. Thank you for your service here,” ABC News quotes Dr Shah as saying ‘when [the USAID chief] gave this warm welcome to a senior member of FIF’. The Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) is the Jamaat-ud-Dawa by another name.

The Obama administration will have its share of blame for the political consequences of its failure to learn from the experience of the 2005 earthquake. Evidently, it has not spared a thought for what might happen in a post-deluge Pakistan where the military and the jihadi groups are more popular than democratic political parties. [See Militants, disaster relief & policy]

Notice the difference between the reactions of the JuD and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to foreign assistance. The JuD was happy to host Dr Shah’s visit. The TTP plans to kill foreign aid workers. That’s because the JuD takes its orders from the Pakistani army—literally, as this 2005 photograph shows–but the TTP probably doesn’t.

The difference might cause the United States to make more mistakes.

4 thoughts on “USAID’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa mistake”

  1. When US helps & aids Pak Army for fighting terror (!!!), USAID Chief visiting JuD camp is not a surprising news.

  2. The US clearly is aware of the antecedants of Fellows-e-Insanity or whatever Jamaat-ud-Dawa/LeT calls themselves nowadays.

    As always, the short term goal of “getting the Pakistani Army to cooperate” seems to override long-term concerns of not allowing these terrorist groups to undermine nascent and pre-natal democracy in Pakistan.

    “Expedience over Experience and Common Sense” seems to be the dictum of the US govt., which is rather unfortunate.

  3. This visit has been denied “But Rick Snelsire, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, said in a statement that Shah visited the Double Session High School in Sukkur, where 1,200 Pakistanis displaced from their homes are seeking refuge. This school “is under the supervision of the government of Pakistan,” noted Snelsire. “At no time during his visit did Dr. Shah encounter or meet with any members of a banned extremist organization.”

    Article at Foreign Policy Magazine.

  4. The idea that the US is being misled is wrong. They know full well who they’re dealing with. This is a conscious decision. Arises from the complete lack of decent options.

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