ByÂ Ashish Kumar Sen, The Washington Times
The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province has given more than $1 million to institutions run by an Islamic charity that is on a U.N. terrorism blacklist and affiliated with a group the U.S. considers a foreign terrorist organization.
Budget documents presented in the Punjab assembly last week revealed this financial assistance to a mosque, a hospital and schools (known as madrassas) operated by Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD), the charity wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The U.S. and India say LeT was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed, and the State Department has designated LeT a foreign terrorist group.
Pakistani officials deny any money has been given to JuD.
A Pakistani official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said his government has taken control of educational institutions run by JuD and integrated them into the mainstream.
“There is a misperception, that the government is giving money to Jamaat ud Dawa. The curriculum at these institutions is now in the hands of the government of Punjab,” the official said, adding that the decision had been made by the federal government in Islamabad.
However, Ayesha Siddiqa, a Pakistani analyst at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, said, “The reality is that Jamaat ud Dawa is still running their own show.”
While the government of Punjab claimed to have taken over some JuD madrassas after the Mumbai attacks, Ms. Siddiqa said the curriculum at those institutions essentially remained the same.
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