Has the Jamaat-ud-Dawa the parent outfit of the Lashkar-e-Taiba which carried out the deadly 26/11 attack really been banned? Following a resolution in Pakistan which decided to ban the Haqqani Network and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the UN had banned the two outfits.
While to the rest of the world it appeared that Pakistan had imposed a ban on the JuD, it now seems as though the entire exercise was an eye wash. The National Counter Terrorism Agency Website in Pakistan which provides a list of banned outfits has no information and since the past two days states that it is under construction.
Is the JuD really banned in Pakistan
In the month of December 2014 following the Peshawar school attack, a list of outfits to be banned in Pakistan was announced. The list included both the Haqqani Network and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. This was seen as a welcome move by India which had always maintained that the Lashkar-e-Taiba was financed by the JuD which had led to the 26/11 attack killing 166 people.
However in January 2015, the US said that there was no confirmation on whether Pakistan has banned the JuD or the Haqqani Network. Indian officials also say that this exercise was an eye wash and for Pakistan banning the JuD is not easy at all.
The ban was issued for public consumption. Pakistan was desperate following the Peshawar school attack and wanted to launch a major offensive against groups operating on its soil. However it did not want to seem selective in its approach and wanted to tell the world that it will not tolerate terrorist groups on its soil.
Fearing that the world may term Pakistan as selective it decided to ban both the Haqqani Network and the JuD. However now it has become increasingly clear that the ban was only for public consumption and the name of the JuD has already been removed from the list.
The list of banned outfits is not available
Pakistan lists its banned outfits on the National Counter Terrorism Agency website. However the name of the JuD never made it to the website. In fact the website when opened says it is under construction and this message has been showing up for the past couple of days now.
There was in fact a mixed view on the JuD within the Pakistan establishment. In fact if one may recall that Pakistan's interior secretary Shahid Khan had slapped the director of the National Counter Terrorism Agency, Fazal Majid over the same issue.
Majid is said to have made a list of banned outfits figuring the JuD public. Khan was however miffed and during a meeting he slapped Majid. Khan had asked Majid as to what the hurry was in posting the list.
Majid had responded saying that list was prepared following a notification and this meant that the names of the outfits could go up on the website. However Khan prevailed over Majid and the list was amended and the name of the JuD did not figure in it.
Fooling the United States of America
The name of the JuD was present in the list of banned outfits until late December. Pakistan had made a conscious effort to keep the name in the list as they wanted it to be there in the wake of United States Secretary of State, John Kerry visiting Pakistan.
When Kerry had visited Pakistan, he was shown the list and the name of the JuD was very much present in it. He had even lauded Pakistan's efforts on its fight against terror. However after he left the name was taken out.
Why Pakistan can never act against JuD?
The love affair between the JuD and the Pakistan establishment is not a secret. The JuD which calls itself as a charity outfit is headed by Hafiz Saeed who is also the chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Saeed commands a lot of support across Pakistan and more importantly he is the most important proxy that Pakistan has ever produced. He is a crisis man for the ISI and would wage a war at their behest without raising an eyelid.
Moreover Saeed has been extremely loyal to the ISI and there has not been a single instance of him overstepping his brief. The ISI and the rest of the establishment in Pakistan cannot afford it if the Lashkar turns rogue.