JuD openly involved in flood relief efforts despite UN ban

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Islamabad, Aug 4 (ANI): Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), considered as a front for the terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba, can be seen providing relief to Pakistan flood victims despite ban from the United Nations.

With the Pakistan Government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, the worst flooding in Pakistan in at least 80 years, a gap has opened up for hardline Islamic groups.

JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said that the (banned) organisation had sent 10-truck loads of relief goods and nine medical teams to affected areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

"Our teams have evacuated up to 20,000 people from the worst-hit districts of Malakand, Charsadda, Nowshera and Peshawar," Mujahid said.

JuD is also providing hot dinners to those who are stranded. "We have around 2,000 volunteers working in the affected regions," he said.

The hardline Islamist organizations are trying to win hearts and minds in a region most hit by militancy and the threat of a Taliban takeover by providing relief to victims.

The UN said today that the flooding, caused by monsoon rain, has now affected three million people, with the death toll put at around 1,500 by the provincial government.

The World Food Programme estimated 1.8 million to be in urgent need of water, food and shelter. An outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera is now feared.

Hajji Makbool Shah, a 55-year-old flood volunteer, said he was a member of JuD but distribution was under the Falah-e-Insaniyat arm of the organisation. "If the government were doing this work, there would be no need for us," he said. (ANI)

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