Ever since that horrific execution of 'Wall Street Journal' reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, journalists - including our lot here at Dateline - have been treading very warily in that deeply troubled country. Daniel Pearl disappeared while he was on the trail of an Islamist leader. Recently, Evan Williams went on his own risky journey in
REPORTER: Evan Williams
Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province, we're here to meet a man who is part of a hidden army. We've come to the outskirts of
The man we're here to meet was a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, "The Army of the Righteous". Even in
So, we have come this rather poor suburb, a rather narrow alleyway in a poor suburb of Lahore to meet these guys - just trying to be as quick as possible -it's best we don't stay here too long. So, we will try and spend about 30 minutes with them and then we will leave. Asadullah told me he'd been in Lashkar-e-Taiba for 10 years, fighting Indian forces in
ASADULLAH (Translation): I was with about 26 friends... Almost everyone died. I was the only one who survived.
REPORTER: They went on two major missions. In those missions, he personally killed an Indian major and in the other mission he killed three Indian soldiers, and he said while of course it was very difficult over there it is the blessing of God that he survived and came back.
In the 10 years that he fought for them, Lashkar-e-Taiba moved from simply fighting in Kashmir to launching attacks in
ASADULLAH (Translation): The Kashmir problem was left behind by
Lashkar's raids in India, culminating in the Mumbai attacks, means that it's banned, even in
MAULANA ABDUL AZIZ, JUD SENIOR LEADER (Translation): Kashmiris are brothers with Pakistanis.
One of the senior leaders of the JUD, Maulana Abdul Aziz, issued a call to arms.
MAULANA ABDUL AZIZ (Translation): By the grace of Allah, the Kashmiris will fight to the end, to the last Indian soldier, and till
The message from the stage was that Muslims could not rely on outside help to win
SPEAKER (Translation): My friends and colleagues, from this viewpoint, we have jihad through money, jihad through the media, jihad through preaching, and when the time comes you will kill and be killed.
We drove back to
To try and understand a little bit more about what this group is really all about, and what they do, we have to one of the most authoritative writers here in the country, Ahmed Rashid. So, obviously writing about these issues in
REPORTER: The Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was banned, I believe, in
AHMED RASHID, AUTHOR
REPORTER: So Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa are the same thing?
AHMED RASHID: Oh, certainly. I mean, I think after Mumbai, for example, there was again a pressure on them. They were told to close their offices. Everyone here still calls them Lashkar-e-Taiba because that's what they are.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa generally shuns all Western media attention. But after difficult negotiations through a local contact, we get word that we've been granted access. We are about an hour outside
Once this was a military training camp for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba but now it is the headquarters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The base looked more like a military compound than a charity office. They are a bit jumpy about us filming. We just have to be a bit careful about this - access for a TV crew is very rare here. My initial impressions are on my left-hand side there's a new hospital, here, there is what looks like a school for young men, or even a hostel potentially - it's very much the feeling of a city, or a town within a town, completely walled off and their own facilities and tight security on the outside.
If the UN was right about JUD, we were now inside the nerve centre of one of the world's most dangerous terrorist networks. Senior members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa had decided they wanted to give us a tour to show the charitable work they do here. Our guides told us they offered medical care to thousands of villagers. We met Riaz Ahmed, who told us he'd brought his 4-year-old daughter Zainab here for treatment for a chest infection. Riaz said he'd come here because it was cheaper than any alternative.
REPORTER: Can I ask why you have come to this facility and not to a government clinic?
RAIZ AHMED (Translation): Any medication will cost another 400 rupees. We can't afford it. With a slip, we can get medication for 3 or 4 rupees.
He told me that Jamaat-ud-Dawa was helping many people here and wasn't doing anything wrong.
RAIZ AHMED (Translation): If the Jamaat closes, it won't be good for us. Now the children are at school. Otherwise they'd be doing nothing. They'd misbehave.
Chief spokesman Yahya Mujahid told me the supplies were donated by supportive businesses from across
REPORTER: Who pays for this? How do you get the money to buy this?
YAHYA MUJAHID, CHIEF SPOKESMAN (Translation): People from different companies send their samples and that's how we get it. People think it comes from a charity.
It was clear that JUD was attracting a lot of money. Security experts claim that this facility is used to raise funds that are then channelled into terrorism. The JUD deny this. Jamaat-ud-Dawa maintain donations are spent on facilities like this.
REPORTER: How does this compare to the nearest government operating theatre?
GOVT ADMINISTRATOR: Almost the same.
REPORTER: And how far is the nearest government..? Far away.
HOMAYOUN BABA: So you see we are serving….. Please convey our message to the world, we are serving Insha'Allah. We are nothing to do anything here.
REPORTER: Nothing to do what?
HOMAYOUN BABA: Nothing to do anything…
GOVT ADMINISTRATOR: Any illegal activity.
It was clear our escorts were aware of how they were perceived by outsiders. We were taken to the compound school where they teach more than 400 young men. Jamaat-ud-Dawa were keen to stress that the children here are taught the state curriculum but they are accused of using their schools to radicalise and recruit.
REPORTER: Its OK, you can keep the study going.
ESCORT: If you will see, you can observe that this is related to the modern educational techniques - Modern educational techniques?
REPORTER: The planets! And what's this one?
ESCORT: Mosque, this is a mosque.
We were shown the posters you'd see in any classroom. But among them was one condemning the occupation of Muslim lands by
YAHYA MUJAH (Translation):
The longer we stayed, the more unwelcome we felt. Yahya told us some members were not happy about us filming. Yahya seemed to be getting worried. He said we should continue our tour by car. But the mood had changed. Suddenly we realised that we were being escorted off the base. The tour was over.
REPORTER: Oh, so are we leaving now?
The spokesman told us that he could no longer guarantee our safety. He's saying there are some people in here who don't like being filmed and they don't like us filming in this place, so he is saying we should now finish and leave. It seemed the JUD preferred to be left alone and did not welcome outside interference. We returned to
I wanted to know why, when the rest of the world says Jamaat-ud-Dawa are a front for terrorism, the Pakistani Government tolerate them. Rana Sanaullah Khan is the
REPORTER: I ask about the Jamaat-ud-Dawa because the international attention is on them - are they the same group as Lashkar-e-Taiba?
RANA SANAULLAH KHAN,
To my surprise, the minister agreed that although many people in Jamaat-ud-Dawa do good work, it was not just a charity.
RANA SANAULLAH KHAN: Jamaat-ud-Dawa people are doing these terrorist activities in
REPORTER: The Jamaat-ud-Dawa organisation is still there, it is still collecting money, its still there, why is that?
RANA SANAULLAH KHAN: If only 1,000 people ..
The minister feared that if JUD was closed it would respond with a wave of suicide attacks.
REPORTER: But is that why the
RANA SANAULLAH KHAN: No, no we have closed down there - everything.
REPORTER: But they are still running, the organisation is still there - that's the thing I don't quite understand - even though they are under your administration.
RANA SANAULLAH KHAN: No, no, no they are not running anything, any office as Jamaat-ud-Dawa they are not running any school as Jamaat-ud-Dawa or hospital as Jamaat-ud-Dawa - if the hospital is there and 100 people are giving their 10,000 rupee per month, and the people are benefiting there in the shape of medicine, what need for closing that.
The Minister had accepted that the JUD was more than a charity. However, it was clear that WWWopular support for the organisation meant that it was untouchable, whatever the outside world might say.
AHMED RASHID: The process of demobilising an organisation like this would be very complicated, and very difficult to do, but it would have to be done in a peaceful way. Because if you did it in an aggressive way, as a police or military action, you would be riling up hundreds of thousands of people - people who donate to them, people who have been educated by them, people who benefited from their hospital, or whatever.
We wanted to see how much popular support they had here in the city. It was Friday, and we headed for the group's main mosque. We've noticed that half the road is blocked off, there's security everywhere, this is for Friday prayers, because they are worried about attack and increased security. We've got to be very careful about how we film this, though. We approached to ask permission to film, and were immediately surrounded by JUD security. One young man asked if we were working for American intelligence.
We have been given five minutes to film the entrance of the main Jamaat-ud-Dawa mosque here, and we are trying to negotiate further access, but it's very tense.
Spokesman Yahya Mujahid, who we'd met at the headquarters, arrived. He told us many people here didn't want to be filmed for religious reasons, but they were also scared of attack, and suspicious of strangers. He was keen to show the size of their following.
I've been told by the spokesman that we should shoot here to show the number of motorcycles, the number of people coming to Friday prayers here at the main Jamaat-ud-Dawa mosque. He says on good days, they can have up to 10,000 people. He says the message is one of follow Islam, follow it strictly, do the right thing, don't do anything illegal. Although the government had told us that they were closely monitoring JUD, here, the police seemed to be protecting them.
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI, helped set up many of the groups that have fought and supported Pakistan's struggle to regain Kashmir, groups such as JUD maintain many sympathisers within the military. We got a call from the local journalist we'd been working with wanting to meet us urgently at our hotel.
Our fixer has just had a call from a friend saying that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which is the military-run secret service here, a very powerful organisation in
We arranged to meet the former ISI chief, who was responsible for setting up many of
REPORTER: These Pakistanis militant groups at the moment, they have received state help and sponsorship and support for and on behalf of the West in the past, but what is the situation now?
HAMID GUL: No
Gul believes that if Islamic militants defeated the West in neighbouring
HAMID GUL: I tell you the situation is simply awaiting the resolution of the Afghan conflict once this happens and the Indians don't come to their senses
REPORTER: What do you mean?
HAMID GUL: I mean, if Pakistan resists the jihadis then there will be a problem because then a huge victory would have fallen in the lap of the jihadis and this is bound to have a very profound effect there will be uprising in Kashmir, massive uprising. Maybe it will lead to an armed conflict between the two countries - and then the jihadis will be the right arm of the
We had heard stark warnings that any attempt to crush groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa would create a popular backlash. It could lead to all-out war over
All the banners are saying that Kashmir will be part of
The UN has passed a resolution calling for self-determination in Kashmir, but
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