7241Year on, Quake Jihad Praised in Kashmir
- Oct 5, 2006Year on, Quake Jihad Praised in Kashmir
Islamonline.net & News Agencies
Thu., Oct. 05, 2006
MUZAFFARABAD One year of "humanitarian jihad"
helping the survivors of last year's deadly Kashmir
earthquake is winning Kashmiri groups the minds and
hearts of the people and the praise of the
"We are very grateful to Jamaat-ud-Dawa for their
hospitality and their help," Zulakhian Bibi, a
55-year-old woman recovering from multiple leg breaks,
told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday, October
Bibi is one of many patients treated in a tin-roofed
hospital built by Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization in
Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-controlled
A massive signboard headed "Dawa Field Surgical
Hospital" says it has the city's only orthopaedic
surgeon, two operating theatres, a blood bank, free
medicine and, of course, a mosque.
A powerful quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale
had hit northwestern Pakistan and Kashmir on October
2005, killing more than 74,000 people and making 3.5
million others homeless.
Kashmiri Muslim groups, battling India for the
independence of the Muslim-populated Himalayan region,
were the first on the scene after the quake, arriving
hours before the army and days before the United
Nations despite losing dozens of their own fighters.
Their members, many commando jackets and sometimes
carrying Kalashnikovs, rode in the back of pick-up
trucks to hand out supplies, help dig up survivors and
collect bodies for burial.
In the past 12 months -- now in civilian clothes and
with no sign of any weapons -- they have set up
clinics, tent camps and schools.
Banned by the United States over alleged terror links,
many of the Kashmiri groups suffered to help quake
"When the American doctor teams came over after the
earthquake they were reluctant to work with Dawa
people," said Ghulamullah Azad, Jamaat-ud-Dawa's
"But after some days they were very friendly. They
appreciated the level of our work."
The United States blacklisted Dawa as a "terrorist
organization" in April.
Asked about the US move, Azad replied: "We don't
bother about it because we are doing something for the
cause of humanity. We fail to understand why America
considers us its enemy."
Dawa Field Surgical Hospital administrator Basharat
echoed the same position.
"We are not afraid of the US ban They have got the
wrong perception about Jamaat-ud-Dawa."
Jamaat-ud-Dawa is said to be the political wing of
Lashkar-e-Taiba, which fights Indian rule in the other
sector of disputed Kashmir.
President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally, has refused
to take any action against the group, while
authorities here have showered praise on groups
involved in quake relief.
The prime minister of Pakistani-administered Kashmir
showed his appreciation by officially opening the Dawa
hospital earlier this year, while quake survivors
protested when they heard about the US ban.
Pakistan insists the groups working in the quake zone
are only charities and that since 2001 it has banned
the main militant groups and closed their camps.
Kashmir is divided between nuclear-armed rivals
Pakistan and India but claimed by both in full.
Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, they
have fought two of their three wars over the
Muslim-majority disputed Himalayan region.
From April 1948 to 1957, the UN passed a series of
resolutions, affirming the right of self-determination
of the people of Kashmir in accordance with a
referendum to be held under international auspices.