Monday 20 August 2012

Donors turning their back on TTP in Peshawar

The IPS News Agency is reporting that donors in Pakistan are turning their back on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) this Eid, giving instead to well established charities catering for orphans and widows. The agency quotes Sharifullah Shah, a local doctor who for the past five years has given $500 every Eid to the militants. This year he is giving his money to the Edhi Welfare Centre. 
“I know the (Centre) uses this money to educate and care for orphaned local children, while the Taliban insurgents just pump my money into their violent actions,” Shah told the news agency, adding that his donations to the Taliban were tantamount to “aiding terrorism”.
 Similar sentiments were expressed by Umar Gul, a cloth merchant in the old part of the City. “We have been giving 2.5 percent of our earnings in Zakat to the Taliban for the past 10 years because we wanted our money to be spent in the service of Allah but this year we stopped because the Taliban killed people in terrorist attacks using our money,” he said.
Gul says he now wishes he had never made contributions to the TTP. 
Gul adds that after the fall of the Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan, people swarmed the donation camps established by religious parties, believing them to be defenders of Islam. “Now, they  have become kidnappers, extortionists and killers of humanity,” Gul said in reference to the TTP.
A local prayer leader reinforced the views of the other interviewees: “We, the Muslims, are of the firm belief that the month of Ramadan brings a plethora of blessings for human beings and those who resort to killing and injuring during this time have no relation to Islam,” he said. “My followers used to hand more than $1000 to a jihadist group working under the umbrella of TTP every Ramadan but they have plainly refused to pay them donations anymore,” he added.
Part of the reason donations have fallen off is because of the TTP's refusal to halt hostilities during Ramadan.  Mian Iftikhar Hussain, spokesman of the Awami National Party government in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, whose only son was killed by militants in July 2010, noted
“Islam preaches brotherhood and peace while the Taliban are doing exactly the opposite. We (requested) the Taliban to desist from militancy during Ramadan but all such pleas fell on deaf ears”.
With donations falling so dramatically, the TTP and other jihadist organisations are resorting to bank robberies and kidnappings to raise funds. In March, the BBC reported that kidnappings were on the rise in Karach. Last year there were more than 100 recorded cases of kidnap for ransom - a record high. As well as being organised and tenacious, the militants are greedy. They demanded more than $6m (£3.77m) for a prominent local industrialist abducted late last year. In that case, there was no pay-out. The businessman was freed by a police raid, in which three of the kidnappers were killed.
Reporter Orla Guerin interviewed a TTP militant who claimed that his organisation was raising $80,000 a month in Karachi through kidnaps and robberies.

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