New Delhi, Dec 11: Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) has decided to support the cause of Rohingya Muslims in Pakistan, Myanmar and other countries including India. JuD’s charitable wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) is reportedly collecting donations across Pakistan for relief and medical aid to Rohingya immigrants. The development comes after prominent Dubai and Pakistan-based Rohingya leaders approached the JuD leaders to espouse the cause of Rohingya immigrants.
According to the FIF propaganda material released online, the outfit ‘distributed millions in cash money and blankets among more than 300 besieged Rohingya Muslims’ inside Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state. The FIF had been operating in refugee camps near the town of Cox’s Bazaar, with the help of local Islamist groups, reports Indian Express quoting Bangladesh-based intelligence officials. Shahid Mahmood, FIF’s head of foreign operations, said in an online statement that their organisation intended to “start its relief activities in all areas of Burma where Muslims are besieged”.
Lashkar-e-Taiba’s links with the Rohingya conflict are known to date back to at least 2012 when Hafiz Saeed shared a stage with jihadist commander Abdul Qudoos Burmi. Extending support to the Rohingya cause, the FIF had first built homes and a madrasa for a community of over 1,000 refugees in Indonesia. Despite facing sanctions from the United Nations and the United States, the FIF has been running its operations in Pakistan. JuD’s intervention ‘could mark a dangerous new phase in the Myanmar conflict’, warned a senior Bangladesh intelligence official.
Meanwhile, Rohingya leaders have been approaching Islamists organisations to raise funds for Rohingya immigrants in different countries. Firdous Sheikh, the Dubai-based president of Rohingya Federation of Arakan, had visited Pakistan last month to attend a seminar organised in support of Rohingya Muslims. Sheikh also met JuD ‘amir’ based in Karachi, along with Noor Hussain, Pakistan-based leader of Rohingya Solidarity Organisation who also heads the Burmese Muslim Welfare Organisation, reports Times of India.
Around 36,000 Rohingyas are at present there in various parts of India, said the Border Security Force (BSF) in November. If the JuD succeeds in reaching out to them, it could pose serious security challenges to the country, experts have warned.