[Clips] US on the scent of terror money in Pakistan

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Mon Dec 5 10:26:25 PST 2005

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 Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and

      Dec 6, 2005
 US on the scent of terror money in Pakistan
 By Syed Saleem Shahzad

 KARACHI - Beyond the tragedy of more than 70,000 lives being lost in the
 October 8 earthquake that devastated large sections of
 Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the disaster alerted US intelligence to the
 fact that the financial conduits that feed militancy and terror remain very
 much intact.

  At very short notice, millions of dollars poured into the coffers of the
 jihadi group Jamaatut Dawa (formerly Lashkar-i-Taiba), allowing it to
 immediately take over relief operations in Kashmir while the Pakistan
 government dallied.

 As a direct consequence of this realization, the US Central

  Intelligence Agency (CIA) once again prevailed on Islamabad to launch an
 offensive against al-Qaeda-linked foreign elements sheltering in the
 country, notably in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas on the
 border with Afghanistan.

 Over the past few years, invariably under US pressure, Pakistan has
 undertaken similar offensives, with varying degrees of success, beyond
 whipping up tribal animosity by sending troops into the semi-autonomous

 In the latest initiative, according to security contacts who spoke to Asia
 Times Online, the US insisted that Pakistan authorities conduct
 across-the-board checks and arrests, while simultaneously US operatives
 would go after specific targets in an effort to search out illicit
 financial arteries.

 One Pakistan move involves Ghazi Abdul Rasheed and Maulana Abdul Aziz of
 the famous Lal Masjid Islamabad. They issued a controversial religious
 edict during one of the previous operations in South Waziristan calling on
 people not to pray at the funerals of Pakistan Army personnel killed in
 action in the area. The two religious leaders have had their movements

 On the US side, they appear to have scored a hit with the elimination of
 al-Qaeda number three, Hamza Rabia, in North Waziristan, apparently through
 missiles fired from a CIA drone. However, the body has not been found and
 al-Qaeda has denied that he is dead.

 During the latest crackdown, the activities of the Jamaatut Dawa are also
 under the spotlight.

 A high-level Washington-based source told Asia Times Online:
 "Like prayers, zakat [compulsory charity - 2.5% of an individuals's annual
 reserves/savings in Sunni Islam and 5% among Shi'ites] and pilgrimage,
 jihad is also an integral part of the Muslim faith, that is why there is a
 trend that those Muslim philanthropists who build mosques, seminaries and
 donate money to Islamic relief operators also send money to those they view
 as mujahideen. That is the reason decision-makers in Washington are
 convinced that those who contribute money to Islamic groups in Kashmir are
 also involved in supporting the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan."

  The current operations in Pakistan are being supervised and controlled by
 US intelligence. The role of the Pakistani forces is to do the
 supporting "donkey work".

 A case study
 Dr Dawood Qasmi, a graduate of the Dow Medical College in the port city of
 Karachi, works at the National Institute of Child Health in the same city.
 The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is in hot pursuit of him.

 His father, brother and two nephews were arrested, and the women of his
 family were threatened with arrest if Dawood did not give himself up.
 However, a hue and cry raised in the media forced government agencies to
 release the men and lay off the women.

 Dawood is a former commander of the banned Laskhar-i-Taiba in Sindh
 province. His role was to recruit civilians to join the Kashmiri movement.
 He was closely associated with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
 Kashmir cell. The ISI provided him with ample funds to recruit youths,
 beside giving him expensive vehicles and armed guards. Laskhar-i-Taiba was
 one of the most active militant groups in Kashmir.

 But post-September 11, 2001, events changed Dawood's life (Asia Times
 Online wrote a detailed account of his life Confessions of a failed jihadi
 , although he was not identified by name in the story).

 Disillusioned, he gave up his activities with Laskhar and returned to his
 quiet life in the medical world.

 "Dr Dawood Qasmi fully realized it [operations in Kashmir] was not a jihad
 but a Pakistan Army operation for which it was only using civilians as gun
 fodder. So he set himself aside. Initially he was working with an online
 medicine research firm and later on he joined the National Institute of
 Child Health," said his daughter, Dr Hania Dawood Qasmi of the Baqai
 Medical University in Karachi.

 "Three months ago a colonel approached Dawood and tried to prepare him to
 work again for Laskhar, but Dawood refused. He said to me that he knew that
 as he had already been tracked by the FBI, an association with Laskhar was
 essential as it was the only way to get government protection. But he said
 that his conscience was not ready for him to become a Laskhar member again,
 as it would mean being an ISI proxy," Hania Dawood maintained.

 Dawood was then left alone. But once the relief operation started in
 Kashmir, he was contacted by the Jamaatut Dawa to help as a doctor. He
 agreed, and was quickly provided with huge sums of money to purchase
 medicine and surgical equipment to be taken to Kashmir to establish mobile
 hospitals, and even an operating theater.

  A week ago, as a result of the US-inspired campaign to track money
 sources, all senior police officials were asked to update their information
 on jihadis, especially those active in their areas. Dawood would probably
 not have been targeted, had not his friend from Laskhar days, Arif Qasmani,
 been involved.

 Arif Qasmani was a part of a high-level November 14 meeting in Islamabad
 held to initiate a process for peace between the Afghan resistance and
 coalition forces led by the US. Apparently, Arif Qasmani spoke about Dawood
 and his involvement in the relief operations, and also about how he had
 quickly received cash.

 Ears obviously pricked up. Soon after, a joint team of the FBI, the army
 and the police raided Dawood's home in the early hours of the morning,
 explained Hania Dawood, but her father was out.

  "We were the ones who suffered from the hands of the police," said
 Dawood's 75-year-old father, Abdul Rauf. "They handcuffed me, my son and my
 grandson. They called us names and forced us to tell where Dr Dawood was.
 They threatened us that if we didn't tell them the whereabouts of Dr
 Dawood, they would humiliate all our family members and detain the women
 and humiliate them in front of our eyes. They did not properly feed us. I
 was the first person who was released because my health deteriorated."

 Later, after the media got onto the case, all family members were released.

  Dr Dawood Qasmi's whereabouts are still unknown.

 Syed Saleem Shahzad, Bureau Chief, Pakistan Asia Times Online.

 R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
 The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
 "... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
 [predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
 experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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