Islamabad, Sept 8: Collecting the hide of animals sacrificed has become a yearly occurrence in Pakistan. This year too it is the Jamaat-ud-Dawa which is leading this drive and hopes to pocket 8,00,000 US dollars like it did last year.
Volunteers of the JuD which is the financial wing of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba are tasked every year with collecting the hide of sacrificed animals after Eid al-Adha.
The money that is made out of this drive is obscene and the skin of cows sell for 50 dollars each while the sheep skin goes for 7 dollars.
The JuD has been claiming that it uses the money for charity, but the fact remains that this outfit has been banned by the United Nations, India and the United States of America for financing the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
Pakistan on the other which had assured to ban the outfit however now claims that it is only under watch.
Raking in the moolah:
It is this time of the year that the JuD manages to pocket a large sum of money. Volunteers go about collecting animal hide after Eid al-Adha.
Estimates would show that during this time, 1 million cows and 5 million sheep are killed every year as part of a sacrifice ritual.
The JuD on its part controls the hide business country wide in Pakistan and most people hand over the hide to the volunteers out of fear.
It has been seen that the JuD ropes in children too for this job. The children are sent door to door and the hide is collected before it lands up at an auction spot. Hides of cows and sheep have been auctioned at 50 and 7 dollars respectively.
India got wind of this racket when it had arrested a Hizbul Mujahideen operative Ghulam Naiku Hassan. While speaking about the programme in Pakistan where hide is collected, he had also added that similar occurrences have taken place in Kashmir as well.
Drugs and hides:
For the Lashkar the biggest financer of money is its own JuD. While the drug trade directly funds the activities of the Lashkar, the auction of hide at this time of the year is a major draw.
With leather being a much used commodity, the JuD thrives on this business. The auction is a big event and the hide is sold out within half a day. The money is paid to the volunteers of the JuD on the spot, reports would suggest.
The leather trade or the auctioning of hides is a safer option when compared to drugs. Leather unlike drugs is not a banned commodity and hence the money being pocketed by the JuD appears legal.
However, the real concern is that the money which is pocketed by the JuD lands up in the coffers of the Lashkar which uses it for waging a battle against India either in Kashmir or in the form of a 26/11.
Pakistan has lived in denial about the role played by the JuD in the affairs of the Lashkar. The JuD leadership's proximity with the establishment is well known.
To put up a clean face, the JuD is seen taking part actively in relief work in Pakistan.
However, the outfit has been careful and never undertakes relief work on its own. It is always seen working closely with the army when relief operations are undertaken.
The Pakistan establishment has lied several times that it has banned the JuD. Pakistan always ends up doing a U-turn on this issue.
Very recently it had claimed that it had banned the JuD only for the world to later realize that the outfit was only being watched. Even after the 26/11 attack, Pakistan had claimed that it had cracked down on the JuD.
However, all it did was seal its properties for a few months and keep Hafiz Saeed under house arrest. However all this was later described as a hog-wash.