Militants Help Pakistan Quake Victims

Militants Help Pakistan Quake Victims

By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

A survivor is treated at a makeshift hospital in Quetta. (Reuters)

ZIARAT — Handing out blankets to stave off sub-zero temperatures, foods, milk and tents, militant groups are busy helping hundreds of people in the quake-hit northwest Pakistan.

“We have so far distributed hundreds of tents, blankets, food items, and medicines among the affectees in Ziarat and in vicinage areas,” Abu Mujahid, a spokesman of Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JD), told on Saturday, November 1.

JD volunteers have been deployed to help thousands of Pakistanis hit by a 6.4-magnitude quake that struck the Balochistan province on Wednesday and killed up to 300 people.

Wearing joggers and cladding in local dress shalwar kameez (loose trouser and shirt) and jackets, the volunteers are distributing food bags, blankets and other relief goods among the affectees.

“Mujahiddin were the first one who reached here to help us,” Mubeen Khan, a taxi driver, told IOL.

The JD has set up five camps of 50 tents in Wam, one of the worst-hit villages, and recruited 100 volunteers, including 30 doctors and paramedics, to help survivors.

JD has been listed by the US as a “terrorist organization” because it is the political wing of the outlawed Kashmiri group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Led by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, a former professor of Islamic learning at University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, JD is known for attacks against the Indian rule in Kashmir.

“We don’t care what America or other countries think about them (JD),” said Mubeen, who hails from Ziarat.

“What we know is that America is dropping bombs on us while, they are helping us, especially at a time, when the government and other so-called popular parties are just boasting.

“We have been looking for those who come to us before elections, and then disappear.”

Serving Humanity

JD has earned a huge reputation for its relief operations following the 2005 powerful quake that killed 80,000 in Pakistan and Kashmir.

“This (relief work) is not a new thing,” said Abu Mujahid.

“It’s a permanent feature of our party activities.”

The JD spokesman said that the western media has been running twisted reports about his group.

“Foreign media knows us only because of our relief work in areas struck by 2005 earthquake,” he said.

“Otherwise, we have been running a permanent relief network, which is spread in all over the country.”

JD is running an ambulance service, various hospitals and clinics in different parts of Pakistan, where poor patients are treated free of cost.

The group is also running a permanent vaccination campaign in less developed parts of the country.

“We have no political agenda to accomplish here,” said Abu Mujahid.

“I don’t know why western media always looks for something spicy vis-à-vis our activities. We are here to purely help our people. In return, we don’t need.”

“We don’t take part in elections, therefore you cannot blame that we are here to grab votes. We are simply here to invoke the blessing of Allah.”

A fund set up by the JD to help the quake-hit people has received generous donations from many Pakistanis.

“The people of Pakistan trust us,” said Abu Mujahid.

“They have seen our performance not only in 2005 (earthquake), but also on different other occasion.”

The JD is arranging food meals for 5,000 affectees three times a day as some 40,000 people have been sleeping in the open air since their mud-brick, straw-roofed houses were flattened.

“We are going to set up a field hospital in the area. Arrangements in this regard are in final stage,” said the spokesman.

Currently, the group has established small field clinics in Wam, and some other parts of Ziarat, where dozens of injured are being treated.

“They are serving humanity. And we are proud of them,” laborer Sultan Nazir told IOL.

“We don’t care about any propaganda against them.

“We are happy. At least someone approached us and treated our women and children.

“I don’t see anyone else coming here to do politics. They have come here to help us and they are all our brothers.”


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