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Saudi Arabia, UAE financing extremism in south Punjab

Published May 21, 2011 08:30pm


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A boy reads verses of the Quran, while studying in a madrassah, January 11, 2011. — Photo by AP/File (Thumbnail illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan/

KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.”

The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur.

Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought.

Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”.

Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states.

Children recruited would be given age-specific indoctrination and would eventually be trained according to the madrassah teachers’ assessment of their inclination “to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture” versus their value as promoters of Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects or recruiters, the cable states.

Recruits “chosen for jihad” would then be taken to “more sophisticated indoctrination camps”. “Locals identified three centres reportedly used for this purpose”. Two of the centres were stated to be in the Bahawalpur district, whereas one was reported as situated “on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city”. These centres “were primarily used for indoctrination”, after which “youths were generally sent on to more established training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as suicide bombers in settled areas”.

The cable goes on to quote local officials criticising the PML-N-led provincial and the PPP-led federal governments for their “failure to act” against “extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as Jaish-i-Mohammad’s Masood Azhar”. The Bahawalpur district nazim at the time told Hunt that despite repeatedly highlighting the threat posed by extremist groups and indoctrination centres to the provincial and federal governments, he had received “no support” in dealing with the issue unless he was ready to change his political loyalties. The nazim, who at the time was with the PML-Q, “blamed politics, stating that unless he was willing to switch parties…neither the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan People’s Party federal governments would take his requests seriously”.

Cable referenced: WikiLeaks # 178082.


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Comments (73) Closed

Javeed Hussian May 22, 2011 09:36am
I am not surprised and amazed at Saudi Arabia and UAE
Bilal May 22, 2011 09:38am
Wow, Again where is our intelligence agencies. If the cables knew so much what do our intel know? And if they did , what did they do about it? I have failed to understand whats our internal or foreign policy? The core existence of Pakistan in danger if these extremist elements are given freedom to have rallies and fund raising events. We need secular and Jinnah's Pakistan Time to change 80's jidadist and religious based policies that is eroding our country from within. Pakistan Zindabad
ekya May 22, 2011 10:07am
The fact is that federal authorities are not interested to live in pakistan therefore are busy in 'extra curricula' activities and adheres to principal of indifference. Why the Saudi. UAE have selected south punjab, is cz of rampant poverty and weak Barelvi sect despite in majority. Their leadership say they believe in non voilence.
Omer May 22, 2011 11:43am
What a double standard of these sauidi and UAE govts. They show that they are our friends and on the other hand de stabilizing us. These people use religion to secure their governance and they are responsible for bad name to our be loved religion islam. But the god will is that what you sow shall your ripe. So its not long they will see the result of what they have done.
dr.faisal rehman May 22, 2011 12:10pm
this the true face of deobandi and wahabi's
Osama May 22, 2011 12:59pm
If you want an insight into this problem. Please get a historical view of "why and how saudi arabia was formed". P.S I totally agree with Dr. Faisal Rehman
Omar May 22, 2011 01:18pm
I seriously doubt the authenticity of these papers and their motives...I think we should start using our brains and stop the media do the thinking for us...its shocking how easily we get into the trap set for us happily...plz. stop cursing our intelligence agencies that are the eyes and ears of our beloved motherland.
Javed May 22, 2011 01:34pm
We need to identify the real enemies of our country. The real enemies are those who are involved in spreading violance, hatred, extremisim and exploit people for their vested interest. If this information is correct then these countries and organizations are hurting and bleeding our country/people and are real enemies of our country.
Ajmal May 22, 2011 01:41pm
why are people so upset or surprized? im originally from bahawalpur and its common knowledge for people there that there are madarsas and centers where terror training is routine and its done very openly. so whats the big deal. our military establishment has to be in agreement with it to let it exist and grow. or maybe they use these recruits for there own wars .. god help us!
Shamoon Irshad May 22, 2011 02:19pm
me too not surprized.
javed mustafa May 22, 2011 02:42pm
This is very sad affairs.Our leaders for the sake of their personal interest playing with the life of common peoples. These leaders are also getting their big share for this type of actvities. They will get good treatment at the day of judgement for all their activities. They must learn from Saddam Hussain, how much cruel he was and how God finish his life.
V.K.Guptan May 22, 2011 03:21pm
Oh! what a pity!!!! Those innocent children being butchered in the name of religion. Does anyone involved think for a moment it could be your sons?.
Mohammad Nasim May 22, 2011 04:14pm
Before making up our mind about the news if it is true or falls, one must look into the source of information. Have we all forgotten that before invading Iraq who spread news of MSW (mass destruction weapons)? And later on, it turned out falls and by that time thousands of human lives were lost. THINK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Bilal kazmi May 22, 2011 04:33pm
but am surprissed that USA knew all about pmln mian brothers regarding their link with TTP and Alqaeda, but why they are supporting Mian brothers????///
A. Aftab May 22, 2011 06:15pm
Guys......if you still can't see it that Wikileaks is a CIA/ disinformation and false flag operation, then nobody can help you. Many governments have thoroughly rejected Wikileaks as a psyops unit actively supporting the agenda of the United States. Wiki leaks, Alqaeda and Taliban is all disinformation. Nothing else.
Mohammad Nasim May 22, 2011 06:52pm
Lets us not be surprised. As a matter of fact, US establishment wants us to fall within the two groups, I think it is time to think loudly to come out of this philosophy and support honest people.
Ashfaq Hussain May 22, 2011 06:54pm
not stunned at all. it is known by all Pakistanies.
Murtaza May 22, 2011 06:57pm
That's what we can expect from our so called Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE
Aamir May 22, 2011 06:57pm
But that was CIA and this is wikileaks. these are the communications between two offices. If the same wiki leaks talks against politicians and Army generals, it is accepted, and when Saudi Arab + Deobandi sect comes under daylight, caution is suggested. All of us know that the whole terrorism in Pakistan in by the Deobandi School of thought. All the banned groups, TTP , Lashkars etc belong to this only and one sect. Accept the facts........................
jamal May 22, 2011 08:08pm
Dont try to justify the Taliban butchering of fellow Muslims. You are saying that this not true only because US has said it.
Abdul Rahman May 22, 2011 08:11pm
Well I dont believe its a leak its an open fact that has been well in knowledge of all agencies including american and to add more its basically the tableeghi jamat that acts as a recruitment agency they hire first some people stay and some people who are bit courageous join militant organisations like sipahe sahaba lashkar jaish etc. but I am confident 100% of the activists in these organisations have been first hired from mosque by tableeghi jamat or some other form of Deobandi movement. I am just surprised why tableeghi jamat is not banned if not atleast in western countries.
umair May 22, 2011 08:14pm
Why do we believe blindly on US report. It is their plan to divide us on sectorian bases which was done in iraq. Funds are coming for madardas which r educational as well as charity organisatiin best working in pakistan.
Vijay May 22, 2011 08:15pm
Dont pretend and fool yourselves and the world by denying existence of extremism in Pakistan. Accept the reality and deal with it, else even Allah can't help you out. DONT FOOL URSELF!!!
shabbir May 22, 2011 08:18pm
The earlier our "Arab brothers" cease interfering in our affairs, the earlier will we have a chance of sanity returning in our country's affairs.
Farooq May 22, 2011 08:25pm
Taliban, alqaeda they are wahabi organizations, along with Saudia Arabia and UAE they have killed 34,000 Pakis. We get blamed for everything by the world because they have infiltrated every department in Pakistan including the Army.
osama ajaz May 22, 2011 08:37pm
i was shocked to read the innocent people are being used by these these SAudis funding
denali May 22, 2011 08:40pm
I guess it is bliss to live in denial while the rampant indoctrination of the young minds continues unabated.
aditya May 22, 2011 09:19pm
Arabs should be Stopped from imposing Wahabism on Pakistan, If they have too much Cash let them spend money on restoring Sufi Shrines. Iam an Indian and its absolutely shameful the way, both of our govts allow the Arabs to mistreat millions of our citizens working in the Gulf.
SAJID May 22, 2011 09:33pm
Haha EVERY BODY KNOWS that these jamat-ul-dawa, Tableeghi jamat, alkhidmat, PMLN, these all Supports TT, Alqaeda and other extreme parties. But Hamari Awaam hai k kuch sunti Samjti nahi.. Ab Waqt hai k Ahle Sunnat Ulama khare hoo and Islam ka sahi maqsad, Defination and Agenda Pori Duniya ko btai.. Is leak se sab ko pata laga gya hai k ye Deobandi, Ahle hadess and dosre sab loog Islam ko badnaam karne ki kooshisho ma lage hue hai..
ali May 22, 2011 10:03pm
it's a very sad reality in our country and we all know it but still like to live in denial or better yet blame the west.
paki from Dubai May 22, 2011 10:15pm
Well we all can blame KSA but question is there was no talk of Wahabism or extremism in Pakistan 25 years back who brough them to our countyr, sadly but rightly our own people, the ARMY, Religious Parties and some other people who wanted dominance of one particular region,,,, PLEASE dont blame KSA, UAE or USA blame people of PAKISTAN ONLY
BRR May 22, 2011 10:22pm
Until they knock on your door, or take your neighbor away. Until your brother disappears. Blind faith in a corrupt system, and inability to appreciate that one can be a dissenter as well as a patriot.
Fuad May 22, 2011 10:37pm
I have personally experienced this in 2008 on my trip to Bahawalpur where I went for Friday prayers at a local village mosque and the sermon was nothing, but full of hate and stressing on going for Jihad although it did not surprise me at first but the same evening I saw a Suzuki van full of young kids around 8 to 10 packed together with a "loud speaker" driving down the street chanting "Al Jihad Al Jihad" and reading their message in a melodious manner. It struck to me how this Jihadi doctrine has en rooted itself among those young lads. SAD and TRUE
mehar ali May 22, 2011 10:40pm
Wake up sir, thatd the attitude of Pakistanis which has destroyed the country. Militancy exists in our backyard and leades turn a blind eye to this menace.
Asim May 22, 2011 10:44pm
Islam is best religion or best system of life of world and hereafter than why Muslims are not the best in world? Either they are not following true system of Islam or Islam is not true. Only one option can be true. And I think first option is true.
TruthSeeker May 22, 2011 10:57pm
Despite what our Hamid Gul's and the Zaid Hamid's may think..modern Pakistan is a client state to three countries - Saudi Arabia,China and the USA. It dare not offend any of those as they are the ones who provide the money to keep the show running. Pakistan's economy is in no state for it to be self sufficient for decades to come courtesy Army Inc and the landed political class. The list of our allies is a contradiction of sorts, Saudi Arabia wants to spread it's Wahhabi poison at the cost of the tolerant South Asian version and China is a repressor of Islam (case in point, the 20 million muslims who live in East Turkestan). Pakistan cannot and dare not offend either of the two. To us, atheist China is China helps Pakistan as it wants to keep India in check. China is the patron saint of all rouge regimes - North Korea,Sudan etc..the list goes on. One day all this will catchup to the Chinese if their economy is indeed built on a faulty real estate bubble as a lot of the research points to.. The US just wants it's dirty work done by the ISI.India's economy is growing and though they have problems, it has essentially walled off Kashmir and the Naxal problems.If the USA and India enter a strategic alliance, then the pincer on us begins to tighten.
Ch Taimur May 22, 2011 11:00pm
These are religious fascists. The greatest champions of Islam but at the same time not hesitating to destroy the peace of another islamic country. Even our ISI representative admitted in the parliament that one of the major religious political party has been receiving money from some other countries.
paatchu May 22, 2011 11:21pm
Bahavalpur is where Ajmal Kasab, the 3 bit terrorist involved in Mumbai attacks came.So it's not just a threat to Pakistan..It's a threat to all.. These Deobandi/Wahabbi culture is alien to us. Sufi culture is dying becuase of money poured against it from outside.
Tariq Ahmed May 22, 2011 11:45pm
It's typical Arabs using their money to exploit Women, Religion and their desires. Unfortunately - Pakistan follows the bait (Money) - Pakistan has very intelligent people so they don't need Arabs to tell them about ISLAM. Islamic scholars are from everywhere - and Islam does not teach to kill. Peace
srifromInd May 22, 2011 11:59pm
This info is from WikiLEAKS...what should I think here? this info is genuine dude. wake up bro and save pakistan.
sriInd May 23, 2011 12:01am
Who are you? an ISI agent?
Jawwad May 23, 2011 12:05am
Same is going on in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan. Madressas, training centers are not in open but in private homes. Pretty sure with backing of Military.
Jawwad May 23, 2011 12:06am
With US and Military hunting people and Arabs hunting our animals.
Moiz May 23, 2011 12:07am
This is the true face of woobism.
Yawar Faraz May 23, 2011 12:30am
If only Saudi Arabia and UAE could truly help Pakistan by establishing power plants in Pakistan or help Pakistan develop its Thar coal-gas project. Its a pity that these these Wahabi sheiks spend so much money to spread their brand of Islam which embodies hatred towards all non-Wahabi muslims.
sadia May 23, 2011 12:48am
Dear Friends, I think being Pakistani we should all try to help our motherland come out of this trouble. Why we all close our eyes, ears and mouth. One of our brother told that this training is openly done in public. Why we do not speak about this. I love my army but i really think we do not need these puppet politicians who damn care about Pakistan. Atleast each one of us can put some effort on his and her level. I dnt know who these extremists are but for sure our children, mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers are not safe any more. Some one is funding these people and they are playing on the name of religion. I would rather say ask the mothers of people killed in bomb blasts each day? If any of our beloved one was at their place. I really have huge sympathies with all the victims of Bomb blasts and i salute my army without whom these butchers would have done i dnt know what.
Sadia May 23, 2011 01:02am
Plus I would request all please stop discriminating each other on the name of sects and ideologies. I wish we all stand united as Pakistanis and not eg as wahabis, or deobandis etc etc. There is no point in discriminating people on bases of their thoughts. We all should respect each other and each others ideas. We should develop tolerance and patience towards each other. This is the only way any country can move towards prosperity.
S Khan May 23, 2011 01:07am
Perhaps you mean false not falling?
likui May 23, 2011 01:10am
i dont think any of this is true,wikileak spreading these kind of news to destabilize the govt and create chose in the country.usa govt is shock of on public reaction on death of usma bin laden. and further more saudi and uae govt have no interest in pakistan.usa,china,Britain are main players in here.
Ali Tehsin May 23, 2011 01:10am
Let alone killing, these Wahabbi/Deobandi Taliban have not even literally touched a single Jew on planet Earth, to them, Muslims in Pakistan are Jews. Pakistan is a spiritual state, we are not radicals, we believe a radical Muslim is the most peace-loving person by nature but the media-driven fools of the world don't understand this.
Tahir Naqvi May 23, 2011 02:01am
If other countries do not have respect for our people, our country and our traditions why sould we care for them. Those who finance terror in our country also be held accountable. If they do not stop their evil activities in our land and against our people then they our friends. Jago Pakistan Jago.
Asghar May 23, 2011 11:43am
I am totlly agree, because in 2009, we conducted a research in these area. The studing finding justifying the fact. regard
Nosheen May 23, 2011 02:50pm
Ah, we are not left with anything good or productive to discuss....
Jawad May 23, 2011 11:27pm
The wahhabization and radicalization of the Pakistani society since the 1980's is self evident, not exactly a secret and does not necessary require additional confirmation. The sooner the nation wakes-up, the better the chance it will have to to rescue a rapidly deterioarating situation. Religous radicalism, intolerance and victimhood that has taken hold in different parts of Pakistan calls for a grassroots community education and better governmental oversight to ensure new educational organizations will nurture a progressive, informed, pluralistic and inclusive civil society of the future. As it struggles to fight the forces of extremism and lawlessness, the nation also needs to reform existing instituitions that continue to indoctrinate and preach hate and intolerance. Pakistanis will be do a great service to Saudi and UAE to get these regimes to stop the rot from where it originates.
spiderman May 23, 2011 11:32pm
why do we always expect our intelligence agencies to do something good for the country. its our fault not theirs. they are busy in minting money so let them be. there is no country left now all that remains is to be finally distributed and then these generals will vanish from the scene and we will wait for their help as it happened with the people of Iraq. our Agencies can only create (so-called) political parties, fake leaders like Imran (who has a very good track record of Politics when he was a cricketer), creating (so-called) religious parties to promote their own interests, the whole LAL MASJID issue was created under the nose of ISI headquarter...isnt it a joke? as a common citizen of karachi, i know the particular madraSSas where these terrorists are being recruited and trained, howcome these agencies dont know? the people of my country are either very simple or Stupid that they dont know or they willingly ignore what is happening. Let it all be my dear fellows, HUM ROTAY REH JAENGY OR HOGA WOHI JO YE SUB LOG CHAHTAY HAIN. even the clerics during friday prayers, speak only whatever they have been asked by CIA or what are we hoping for? just wait for a Natural Disaster to take us all....sorry if anyone dislikes my comments but there is no hope left my dear fellas.
Rienz May 24, 2011 12:44pm
Which Intelligence Agency? the ones that could not stop terrorists from blowing up expensive survailence aircrafts in thier own base?
billo May 24, 2011 08:06pm
Yes, its all disinformation and none of it is real. Suicide bombers are simply cases of spontaneous combustion.
Aqilmund May 25, 2011 12:26am
Why is anyone surprised; the 'deal' the Saud family made with the Wahabi's is we rule the secular and will support your aims and you give us cover under the name of Islam. The root cause is the failure of the state to meet the needs of the poor. It is time the people of this country woke up and asked the so-called elite for ehtisaab starting with the armed forces. Report card so far politicians D Army F.
Rizwan Afridi May 25, 2011 02:23am
Is this news? EVERYONE knows the Saudis in particular are using our youths as footsoldiers for their wars. Saudis dont send Arabs to fight, they use Pakistanis because they think we're dogs. And they dont even cover it up! Look at those jihadi flags that bear a striking resemblance to the Saudi flag with the same font and sword for the kalima. And odd how those jihadis dress like Saudis? Where is the news in this?
Hamza Zuberi May 25, 2011 04:38pm
Darn it!
Hamza Zuberi May 25, 2011 04:41pm
Indeed. But what are YOU willing to do about it?
Zab May 25, 2011 04:50pm
of course. wikileaks is disinformation. alqaeda is disinformation. and saudis are innocent angels descended from heaven. to suggest that they would actually fund terrorists is blasphemy.
Muhammad Nasir May 25, 2011 08:31pm
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are good friends since long time. This is the propaganda of our enemies to damage our relationship.
kashif akhtar May 25, 2011 09:58pm
HAHA! Did u know that more than half the people in UK AND USA didnt believe those WMD reports (RIGHTFULLY SO) and Millions came out on the street to protest the war. Wake up.... where did all the Amunition came from in Laal Masjid? It was suppose to be a religious school. Did the Americans planned it there to fight with the Pakistani forces? Ignorance is a bliss! :)
kashif akhtar May 25, 2011 10:04pm
our friends?? whata a load of crap. Tell me one muslim country that made protest against the US invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan along side Pakistan. More Americans and britishers came out in the streets to protest against the war.... how many of muslim world voices their rage?? not many! Pakistani's are treated like crap in the Arab world.... UAE of all the places torture the labor class from bangladesh and pakistan. Saudi govt is no less. WAKE UP!
Tariq Shah May 27, 2011 09:23am
Please stop living in denial and face the facts, America and Jews are not behind every problem in Pakistan, it is our own fellow Muslims who are giving us problems from Waziristan to Al Qaeda to the Arab iranian struggle for Pakistani control. Stop decieving yourself. We need to wake up Pakistan.
Shahzaib May 27, 2011 11:17pm
this is too much now the state of pakistan is considered as a orphan state and everyone in the world is destablising pakistan for their own interests...when will pakistani nation rise and will consider their homeland as their own and will run country by them selves
adam May 28, 2011 02:18am
Thanks for bringing it up, the world needs to wake up, the poor people are being humiliated by the rich, the poor are tool of war, if it goes like this, there are more poor on the earth who will learn to earn by robbing, killing and chasing rich throughout the world.
Basharit May 28, 2011 05:54am
I agree Pakistan should be the priority but alot of these sects were against the creation of Pakistan and supported congress to remain with India. How can any patriotic Pakistan unite with these people.
adam May 28, 2011 12:29pm
discuss two factors, either Pakistanies along NW boarders and South Punjab have recently convertered to Islam or they got illusion that they were not actually Muslim and now they started killing Muslims in Pak and Afghanistan. If this is not true then discuss the third option, they are being paid, by someone,somewhere who using them a bait at the cost of few dollars.
Syie Jun 03, 2011 03:19pm
Absolutely brilliant !!!
naiem Jun 03, 2011 05:33pm
BEIJING (AP) -- The Chinese military accused the U.S. on Friday of launching a global "Internet war" to bring down Arab and other governments, redirecting the spotlight away from allegations of major online attacks on Western targets originating in China.
syed baqar ahsan Jun 05, 2011 10:16pm
sending money from UAE to Pakistan is not the only one matter of concern,UAE is the biggest jump board for clandestine activities being used by the western world against complete Muslim world.As for as Saudi Arabia is concern it has to act on his master's voice but lets see for how long.