(Photo: Pakistani flood victims line up for aid distribution in Muzaffargarh district, September 2, 2010/Damir Sagolj)
Lime green dresses for girls spill out of the sack of food, supplies and shoes — a gift from the Islamist charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) to help flood victims celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid this month.
Blacklisted by the U.N. over its links to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group blamed for the 2008 attack on Mumbai, the JuD has been quick to help people hit by Pakistan’s floods, raising fears among U.S. officials that Islamists use aid to gain recruits.
But it does not have the capacity to establish a big presence — the devastation was so vast that roads were cut and the only means of transport is helicopter — so JuD officials say they are trying to make up for this by other, thoughtful, means.
“We don’t have the resources to meet their demands or get their houses rebuilt or give compensation for their crops,” said Yahya Mujahid, a JuD spokesman, inside the group’s headquarters in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. “So this idea came up … let’s give them this package so that they can forget their problems for at least one day.”