Beware donating hides to banned groups

Sajjad Shaukat

AS the holy festival of Eid-ul-Azha is approaching, general public must ensure that their aims and charity do not aid those people who are involved in murderous rampage in the country. Those mosques, Madaris (religious seminaries) and charity organizations should not be given hides and skins of sacrificial animals which have any association with the militant groups like Al-Qaeda, IS (Daesh) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or any other affiliated organizations. Different organizations are linked with these banned groups and other extremist organizations which are operating under guise of welfare organizations, especially during Eid days.
It is notable that the major terror and sectarian outfits such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan etc. are clandestinely, operating, but still there is no appropriate move from the government to prevent them from collection of hides of animals. Some groups along with foreign funded organizations are collecting hides without any official permit or NOC from Interior Ministry.  However, illegal collection of hides is a common observation, as some organizations, including mobile phone corporations, get on an aggressive campaign of collecting hides from door to door in every neighborhood.
Besides, hide collection is a money-spinning business worth billions of rupees through export, the activists of political and religious parties including banned militant organizations vigilantly do whatever it takes to ensure they fetch the maximum number of hides to earn profit. Notably, in metropolitan cities like Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar; various banned outfits changed their names and set up charities to continue collection of hides under various banners and posters,  appealing for hide donations from public.
Being responsible citizens, we should be alert and refrain from unknown hide-collectors who could collect hides of sacrificial animals, under guise of banned groups. People must know that, this will make them equally responsible of terrorists’ sins and crimes. Particularly, there should be a strict watch from government side on all charitable organizations. Action must be taken against illegal hide-collectors and their financial channels must be traced to avoid or deter the terrorist groups from executing their activities which we have witness in the country.
Disrupting terrorists’ financing network is essential to combat terrorism as without effective check on terrorist financing—fight against terrorism may not produce desired results. Though govt has taken a number of steps to curb flow of terrorists’ funds, yet it requires extensive media campaign to create awareness in general public regarding terrorists fund-raising system. The real faces of terrorists must also be unveiled to deny their monetary support.
People must be informed, especially through the electronic media that charitable hides are actually aimed at helping poor masses, beggars, needy orphans and widows. The money, generated by them is also spent on mosques, Madaris and preaching of Islam. Militant organizations collect hides of sacrificial animals on Eid-ul-Azha under various pretexts including Madaris, Jihad and welfare of aggrieved and deprived Muslims, but the money generated by them is spent on suicide bombings and other terrorist activities. While, many Ulema (Religious scholars) have issued Fatwas (Religious verdicts) that it is not permissible to give hides of sacrificial animals to these anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan organizations. Again such Fatwas must be issued.
The government must instruct the law-enforcing agencies to remove the banners and posters, asking animal hide donations which will, directly or indirectly, benefit militant outfits Otherwise, such charity organizations will remain a serious concern, because many of them are responsible for spreading militancy by means of enormous financial support they receive from public as charity. Now, this ‘different war’ demands cooperation of the people with the security agencies, which is essential to win this war against terrorism. Hence, public must be bewared, while donating hides of sacrificial animals to the deserving people and institutes, as the militant groups can again avail the opportunity.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.

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